Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a personal development system that focuses on the structure of subjective experience. One of the primary ways that NLP works is by emulating and modeling individuals of excellence. NLP holds that anything that can be done by one person can be taught to another. NLP is an accumulation of many different tools and skills that can provide a comprehensive approach to improving your life. One way those tools and skills can be applied is by helping you to relax.
One of the hallmarks of our technological society is the marked increase in stress. With the proliferation of communication devices that allow us to be contacted at any time of day many people are experiencing profound increases in stress. It is nearly impossible to shut off the flow of information nowadays and that constant access is detrimental to our lives. The initial response to stress is preparing the body for fight or flight. This would be a very beneficial response several thousand years ago when the largest stressors faced by our ancestors were directly related to their own survival. Priming the body to fight or flee was key to surviving. However, we are now facing those physiological responses to threat on a constant basis. Constant stress can harm our immune system, make it difficult to sleep, and evoke a series of unpleasant feelings of pain and discomfort.
You can use NLP to help reduce non-resourceful stress. Like our ancestors priming their body to fight or flee a threat, some stress we experience is resourceful. It can help spur us toward greater achievement and better quality work. The stress of a deadline can get us to work on a long term project that might otherwise never get started. However, non-resourceful stress can damage us physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Non-resourceful stress is very often caused by the anticipation of an event and not the event itself. Because it is not being caused by a concrete event, the stress response lives entirely in our own mind. Our mind is interpreting information about a future event in such a way as to make us feel stress. These negative useless thoughts are doing nothing beneficial for us but luckily they are within our control.
There are a couple ways you can apply NLP to stress reduction.
First, you can use it to create instant relaxation. Remember a time when you felt the way you would like to feel now. Bring this image into your mind and focus all of your attention on it. Make it as vivid and lifelike as possible. Make it bright, loud, and close to your viewpoint. The more real you can make the image the more relaxed you will feel.
Second, you can do an exercise known as “taking over the controls.” Bring a memory of a time you felt a little stressed out to mind. Now, move it further away and note how you feel. Make the colors dimmer or the picture slightly fuzzy. How do you feel when the picture moves around?
NLP provides tools for making stressful situations easier to handle. By practicing your control over memories of stressful events you can better prepare yourself for future events. Once you’ve realized and discovered that stress is only created by your mind, you can strengthen and hone your mind to remove stressful thoughts. Using your mind to bring memories alive through making them as lifelike as possible or removing their vividness is a cornerstone of NLP stress reduction techniques. With continued practice you will be able to have complete control over your mind and memories and thus, over stress itself.