There are varying degrees of anxiety, it’s true, and worrying about an event in the future can be a very stressful experience. You may have found yourself lying awake at night thinking about that meeting you have to go to, or that difficult conversation you know you are going to have. There is an endless list of things to be anxious about.

In fact for some people, anxiety can take over their lives to such a degree that it prevents them doing the things most people take for granted. Often my clients have got to the point where they cannot travel, or leave a certain area, or go to public events.

Whatever level of anxiety you experience though, there are some very effective, but easy to use, NLP techniques that can have an immediate effect in enabling you to cope with worrying about a specific event that is coming up.

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a toolbox as an example of NLP tools

Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) has been around as a discipline since 1975. It has gone through a great deal of change and development since that time. The question many ask is ‘does NLP work’? Or is it just another an example of the placebo effect?

Placebo is an effect whereby a person’s condition, mental or physical, is improved even though the treatment is not ‘real’. The assumption is that the belief in the effectiveness of treatment is sufficient to make people well.

It strikes me that the placebo effect is, in itself an example of an NLP process at work. One of the core areas of work in NLP is on the way our beliefs affect our outcomes. If we believe something about ourselves, we tend to prove ourselves right. This is either because we tend to create the circumstances to support the belief, or we select the evidence to prove it.

How do you prove it?

It is of deep frustration to me that there appears to be little valuable research on the subject. The Wikipedia article on the subject is quite damning but is clearly written with some prejudice, saying that any evidence is anecdotal and seeming to imply that NLP can’t be effective because it can’t be proved to be effective – if I understand it right – which seems tautological.

Extreme promises of curing cancer and other serious illnesses do not help the situation. These claims are ludicrous and dangerous and they are not confined to NLP. Other therapies sometimes make similar claims.

On the other hand it would be arrogant of me to declare that I have seen some dramatic inprovements and changes in my clients over the many years I have worked.

It is true, I have! But it is understandable that you might not take my word for it.

Does NLP work in all cases?

NLP is a very powerful toolkit for personal change. Just like a toolkit, no matter how good the tools are, you need to know which to use, and how. If you try to remove a nail using a drill, you may be effective, but it might cause a lot of unnecessary collateral damage. Sometimes the job doesn’t even require one of those tools at all. If you can’t open a door, you could remove the hinges with a screwdriver, but it might be easier to just get some oil from the garage.

When I work with clients I use my knowledge, skills and experience to choose the right approach and the right toolset for the task. Sometimes a person needs coaching, and at other times she needs an intervention. There are also times when we just need to thrash things out and get things off our chests. As with so many things, it comes to NLP the 80/20 principle applies – 20% of the success is the toolset and 80% is the practitioner. How many of us have learned the hard way that all garage mechanics are not equally effective?

What my clients say can also help?

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epiphany

When you have been living your life in the same way, sometimes you need an epiphany to overcome it. An epiphany is defined in the dictionary as ‘a moment of sudden and great revelation or realization’. It is a moment in time when one incident – a thought, an experience – changes everything for good.

There are many stories in history of people who have made sudden realisations that changed everything. The classic epiphany would be the story of Archimedes, leaping from his bath, shouting ‘Eureka’ as he came to understand water displacement. Sir Isaac Newton is said to have had an epiphany when an apple fell on his head – illustrating gravity.

These events, if true, were significant enough to change the course of science and mathematics. An epiphany can also be experienced at the personal level too. Any experience that results in a major shift in thinking or a new way of experiencing the world is an epiphany. In his classic book The Dubliners, James Joyce explored personal epiphanies through his short stories.

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meandering path to improving your mood

How can you improve your mood? How do you feel today? Do you feel motivated? Driven? Excited? Glad to be alive? Or do you feel apathetic, bored, lazy or just plain down?

As a Life Coach and NLP expert, part of my job is to help people feel better. This might be a short term boost to motivation or positivity, or it might be a long term plan to improve your mood by changing your life.

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Dealing with guilt, regret or shame using NLP or Timeline Therapy can be very helpful in enabling you to move on in life.

All of us, at one time or another, have had moments where we have made choices that we have later had cause to regret. Guilt for doing something, or failing to do something seems inevitable and can cause us great unhappiness and pain.

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anger issues - a picture of the incredible hulkAnger issues are among the most common themes that come up when working with neurolinguistic programming (NLP) clients.  Often when I meet someone for the first time, clients will be concerned that they are having angry outbursts or feel pent-up feelings of anger. They can’t understand why this is happening. Small things, which you would not normally find more than slightly  irritating, take on an inappropriate level of emotion.  The tendency to lose your temper can lead to difficulties in your relationships, social life, and also at work. Clients have found themselves Read more »

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In the last blog I visited the concept of ‘metaprograms’ – the general approaches to life that influence our view of the world and affect the success of our choices and outcomes, both positively and negatively. There are no ‘wrong’ metaprograms, and they are preferences rather than hard and fast rules. So in the last example, having a preference for a ‘toward’ metaprogram, or an ‘away from’ metaprogram each has their own benefits and disadvantages.

Another metaprogram that can have a significant effect on your world view is ‘chunk-size’.Read more »

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I had an email the other day from a past client who I haven’t heard from for a while.

It’s lovely to hear from people I have worked with, and especially nice when they occasionally just check in and tell me how things are going, what they are doing, and sometimes also, what challenges they are facing.

This particular lady is really enjoying life at the moment and it’s lovely to think that I was there for her when things were a little complicated and stressful.Read more »

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As we go through life, stuff just happens. It can feel like we are being carried on a wave and there just isn’t time to properly focus on what is happening and what we are feeling. But moods and states change constantly through the day as we all know.

Even the most depressed people have moments of feeling calmer and more positive. Even the most anxious people can forget to worry in a particular moment.  The best state of all can often be the one we haven’t even noticed. That state of being in ‘The Zone’, so focused that you have forgotten where you are, all sounds become a background buzz and your attention is solely on the task in hand.Read more »

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Most people have a hero. Someone whose work they admire. Someone who does something that stirs you up.

When I ask my clients to tell me their heroes, they often feel that they need to come up with some big name and then decide that they have to have the goals to go along with it.

They imagine it should be a film star, like Emma Thompson, or Bruce Willis, or Scarlet Johansson.  Or they think I want them to choose a successful business person, like Oprah Winfrey orRead more »

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