What is Neuro Linguistic Programming?

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Neuro L­inguistic Programming was developed in the mid-70’s by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. It grew from a study of excellence in communications, incorporating the work of many important thinkers in fields such as linguistics, psychology, anthropology and many others. It continues to incorporate ideas form a wide range of fields – especially neuro-science.

It is, in the widest sense, the study of excellence so that we discover excellence wherever it is and then utilize it in such a way as to create change in ourselves and others.

It provides practical techniques for altering behaviour through the use of clear communications with ourselves and others. The techniques are powerful tools for improving human relations, with wide ranging applications in personal and interpersonal relations, education, creativity, and business.

Things to Know about NLP

How does NLP work

NLP helps identify how we can modify automatic patterns of behaviour to open up more and new options or choices of behaviour, thinking, and feeling and then proceeds to facilitate the necessary changes at the neural network level. Change is created by replacing outdated neural networks with new empowering networks that enable you to instantly think and feel differently; often in ways you might not have previously thought were possible!

NLP processes used to achieve these changes are structural and, therefore, content or subject independent. The same processes will work on any issue! This is extremely important for individuals with painful past experiences. While NLP will require them to acknowledge the existence of such an experience the techniques neutralize the emotions from the event, extract and preserve the positive learning, and then allow the individual to quickly and positively move on.

NLP alters outcomes using simple yet powerful techniques to allow individuals to identify the positive intentions behind their current negative behaviour, and find more constructive ways to achieve it, eradicating the root need for the unproductive pattern. NLP adds choice to an individual’s actions and puts them in control of their outcomes. Some techniques may require visualizing past or future situations or returning to old events with new knowledge and understanding. NLP helps individuals identify the parts of themselves that are standing in the way of change.

For NLP techniques to work, an individual does not have to believe they will work, nor do they have to understand how they work. All an individual has to do is be able to do is actively imagine what they are being asked to imagine. This is sufficient to engage the unconscious mind and ensure the success of the technique.

NLP is about working with your mind

Neuro Linguistic Programing is a powerful methodology that allows us to understand how our minds work and apply this knowledge to change unproductive beliefs and behaviours so that we can achieve greater success in life and make positive changes to better ourselves. NLP quite literally shows us how to re-program ourselves.

This means first bringing to the conscious fore the patterns and behaviour that we are constantly using without being aware of it. Once this has been accomplished, we can question the assumptions we hold and don’t think about. It allows us to identify and directly alter the thoughts and patterns that hold them stuck in place. We can access the resources we don’t even know about. Finally, by “changing” our minds we can alter our behaviours, thoughts, and feelings.

There are two basic tenets behind NLP

The 2 Basic Tenets Underlying NLP

People already have all the resources – belief, objectives, internal state and strategies, they need to succeed.

This means that people aren’t “broken” as a result of their problems and don’t need to be “fixed.” It simply means that in the state that they are in, they are not able to access the resources that they need.

There is a positive intention behind behaviour whose consequences we find negative.

This means that, at least initially, the behaviour whose consequence we find negative had a positive impact on the individual. Because the behaviour has continued, even though it has negative consequences, it clearly indicates that the individual is obtaining some secondary gain through continuing the negative behaviour. The imperative to continue the negative behaviour and the recognition of the benefit obtained from it happens at a deep unconscious level. An individual is rarely consciously aware of this happening. What they are often aware of is the inability to do anything different despite a strong desire to do so or perhaps the feeling of “self-sabotage.”

NLP and the Unconscious Mind

NLP is centered on the concept that all behaviour is rooted in the unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is the bit of the brain that is always functioning, and runs all our necessary programmes, even though we are not aware of this, like making sure we keep breathing when we are sleeping. The unconscious mind stores all our memories, processes all our experiences, filters everything we feel, hear, see, taste and smell, and it attaches emotion to everything we do. NLP shows us how to access our unconscious minds, and also provides techniques for making changes at the unconscious level. Because the change is unconscious, it is easier, faster and more permanent.

NLP, however, is quite different than other approaches to behavioural change. Rather than being concerned with the content of your mind, or the reasons why you might be feeling a certain way, NLP is concerned with “how” the mind works not “why” it works. NLP focuses on how you are using your mind, the patterns that you use to organize information, how you inhibit or motivate yourself, and how you communicate information to others.

NLP works with a model of “mind,” communication, and human functioning composed of three essential parts: Neuro, Lingusitic and Programming.

The Neuro part of NLP

This concerns our neurological system. All the information that enters into our brain comes through our five senses of sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. We experience the world through our senses and translate sensory information into thought processes, both conscious and unconscious. Thought processes, both conscious and unconscious activate the neurological system which affects physiology, emotions, and behaviour.

The Linguistic part of NLP

This concerns language and other non-verbal communication systems through which our neural representations are coded, ordered and given meaning; It is how we use language and other non-verbal communication systems to interpret this information to make sense of the world – pictures (is it focused and clear or hazy), sounds (is it a loud or quiet noise), touch (does it feel rough or smooth), smell (does it smell fresh as a daisy or is it an odour of decay), taste (does it taste too salty or too sweet). We use language to capture, store, retrieve and conceptualize experience and communicate it to others. How you speak and think, and your body language, influence your behaviour.

The Programming part of NLP

This concerns the ability to discover and utilize the programs that we run (our communication to ourselves and others) in our neurological systems to achieve our specific and desired outcomes. A person’s personal programing consists of internal processes and strategies (thinking patterns) that they use to make decisions, solve problems, learn evaluate, and get results. NLP considers how you code or mentally represent your experiences and then shows how to recode your experience and reorganize your internal programing so that you can get the outcomes you want.

Experiencing Change

Those who experience changes resulting from NLP processes are surprised that the changes are instantaneous! While this may seem incredulous it is backed up current neuro-science. The subconscious mind runs the body with very little, if any, direction from the conscious mind. In fact, who would really want to be directly and consciously controlling all the myriad of things that the body does! So, when the subconscious mind implements a change in how it runs the body, the neurology of the body ensures that the change happens throughout the whole body instantly. An individual does not have to wait, think about it, or do anything consciously to effect the change.

NLP in a Nutshell

Running your own brain

Managing your states

Living resourcefully

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