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Using NLP for Stress Management
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Everybody experiences stress from time to time. Stress is what happens to your body when it feels threatened. In the simplest sense, it prepares the body to meet a threat by either fighting or fleeing. It is characterized by a racing heart, increased breathing rate, and heightened senses. All of these changes would be very important to an individual who was getting ready to face a life threatening event. However, now that most of us live in a society where we rarely face truly life threatening events, we don’t necessarily need or want to have these reactions. In fact, most people experience far too much stress in their everyday lives. Too much stress can tax the body eventually resulting in a compromised immune system and other issues.

Feeling sick, stuck, overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, or panicked are all reactions to stress that many people face. These are not helpful emotions when what is actually required (and helpful) is the ability to think clearly and rationally. Many people spend much more time feeling worried, guilty, or ashamed for not doing things that they feel they ought to do or should do. However, feeling guilty or worried does not mean that anything is actually getting done. The energy used to feed these negative emotions would be better spent focusing on completing your goals. Developing the tools and skills that can unite your brain and your body is something that Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP, is very good at.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming is the study of the structure of subjective experience. The models and methods that NLP practitioners use focus on the behaviors of people who are excellent in some way or fashion. NLP aims to emulate and model these examples of excellence so that others can be taught how to act the same way. Non-resourceful stress, the stress that you feel throughout the course of your day that makes you physically uncomfortable, is created by your mind.

One NLP technique to conquer stress is to notice what triggers your stress reactions. When you can pick out the pieces of your environment that cause you to feel stress, you can execute techniques to avoid them. If they are events that you have control over, then it is only a matter of changing or avoiding those triggers. If you don’t have control over them (as is most likely the case), learning how to redirect your anxiety, worry and fear will cause a great increase in your well-being.

NLP uses a technique called anchoring to elicit desired emotional responses to external stimuli. One way you can utilize this technique is to focus on a time you were incredibly relaxed. You need to make this memory as bright, vivid, and lifelike as possible in your mind. Make this memory come to live as you feel the waves of relaxation wash over you. Now, to anchor it to an external stimuli, try pushing your forefinger and thumb together on one hand. Focus on the intense feelings of relaxation as you complete the act of putting your fingers together. Do this several times in a row and practice it everyday. Eventually you will be able to link the act of pushing your fingers together to the feelings of relaxation that you imagined. Use this technique when you are feeling stressed out at work or any other situation.

Another option is to focus on a stressful event from your life and make it as dim, blurry, and silly as possible. Imagine you are watching a movie of this stressful event. Making it dim, blurry, and dull will help remove it from the forefront of your memory and thoughts. The more you practice this the less this event should stress you out in the future.

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