How does NLP help you in your self-care practice?

Melody Cheal, NLP Master Trainer at GWiz NLP
Melody teaching NLP at GWiz NLP in Crowborough, East Sussex

This week someone asked me to explain the benefits of NLP to them and I realised this is something I’ve not written about recently. It made sense to me to give you a little background into my personal angle on this.

 

Several years ago I studied for an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and for my dissertation I decided to research the benefits of NLP. In my study I was interested to find out if there was any evidence to support my hypotheses, paraphrased here as:

 

“NLP can be used to improve self-esteem and well-being”

 

As part of my study Joe and I facilitated a one day workshop with over sixty participants and a dozen of our NLP Master Practitioner Graduates assisting with the group work. During the day Joe and I taught some principles of NLP and guided the group through three NLP change work processes.

 

I collected data from already existing psychology questionnaires that measured self-esteemand well-being. The measures were taken before the workshop, at the end of the day and six weeks later. There was also another group of a similar size who did not take part in the workshop who acted as a control group. I measured their self-esteem and well-being during the same time frame (they got to do the workshop after the study had been completed).

GWiz NLP
In the Satir Room at GWiz NLP

The results were very pleasing demonstrating statistically significant evidence that NLP does improve self-esteem and well-being. I was not really surprised as I have been using these techniques myself in self-care, in my private practice with clients and teaching to my students for years. Time and time again I see people having excellent results.

 

When I work with people in my private practice I often encourage them to consider taking NLP Practitioner training as part of their journey. By taking the training my clients are learning how to self-coach when issues come up, they often experience a transformation in their mindset and report feeling greater control in their lives.

 

Here is a comment from a recent student about a particular technique and NLP in general:

 

“In all the years of therapy etc I’ve never noticed a shift like this, so it’s a fantastic technique and I really want to be able to use this and my NLP skills to be able to help others who have been through similar experiences to me. Just wanted to share that with you and thank you for all your help.”

 

If you want to find out more about my research you will find lots of information on the website including my full dissertation and the journal article published later. I also have a free audio download recorded at the research workshop that includes two of the processes covered. Here is the link:

 

https://www.gwiznlp.com/free-mp3/

 

Melody Cheal, NLP Awards Finalist for Research
Melody has been nominated for a Research Award and short listed

As I may mentioned in an earlier blog I have reached the short list for the Research Award at the NLP Awards in May. This event is being hosted at the NLP Conference where we will also have a trade stand.

 

For those of you ready to start your NLP journey you can join us for our NLP Taster Day: NLP101. We have a token charge of just £24.95 for the day which is also day one of the fully ANLP Accredited Practitioner.

 

For full details of our next NLP Practitioner Training or to book onto a taster day contact me direct via Contact Us.

 

 

How can you cope with the Environmental Crisis and keep your mental health and well-being?

Coping with the big issues and keeping your mental health and well-being

Continuing the series of blogs on self-care.

Last week I promised to give you some ideas for dealing with issues that scored lower than 5 on your list of things you have control over. I’m using the Environmental Crisis as an example for two reasons, firstly it may well be on your list and secondly, it is on mine.

 

It the last couple of years, unless you have been living in a cave with no human contact you will have seen or read news stories about how time is running out to reverse the damage we (as a species) have done to the planet. You are probably like me and are not in a position to directly make the changes needed to make a difference globally, (such as moving fully away from fossil fuels and replacing our energy sources with renewable options).

 

So how do we process our inability to control global issues and retain our mental health and well-being?

 

The first step is to answer a different question first:

 

“how is this issue impacting on me right now?”

 

A common answer to the question about the environmental crisis might be:

 

“I am worrying about the future”

 

The specifics that you may be worrying about will vary from person to person. For example, you may be worrying about the future your children will inherit.

 

Although the specific detail of your personal worry will be unique to you the state of “worry” or “fear” will be the same. So, you may need to begin by managing your feelings.

 

You can transform worry and fear into motivation by asking yourself:

 

“what can I do right now that will allow me to make a difference?”

 

You could make a list and start ticking things off as you complete them. We can all make small changes and you may already have started to do that. So, what do you do if the fear and worry is not going away? Although we can feel good about making small changes do you still feel out of control?

 

The trick is to turn fear and worry into motivation. Start by acknowledging your emotions and recognising they have a value. Fear and worry are emotions designed to keep you on alert for danger. If you allow these feelings to overwhelm you there is a risk you will move from fight or flight to the state of freeze. Acknowledging and expressing emotions will help prevent this shift.

 

Acknowledging emotion also allows fear to transform to motivation. Beyond the small changes, there will be more action you can take that will require more effort or more commitment. Make a list of what else you can do to influence change and then take a step back to reflect.

 

Be honest with yourself, what are the actions you are willing to take that also align with your values? What are the actions that for you feel outside of your personal scope? Acknowledge and accept what you are not ready to address or what still feels outside your control.

 

Now take action and notice how much better you are feeling.

 

With the example of the Environmental Crisis there are many things you can do beyond personal changes to the way you live. Here are a couple of things I’ve done in the last few days.

  • Spoken to my dentist about the lack of environmentally friendly products on sale.
  • I then asked advice from others about what is available. It turns out there are lots of products available. I am now in the process of bringing this information to my dentist’s attention.
  • I also spoke to my local supermarket about the lack of environmentally friendly dental products in the shop. I am willing to go searching for these products however I know that if they are available in a convenient way more people will buy them. Hence, I am doing my best to influence my local supermarket. I’ll follow up if nothing happens.
  • I am doing my best to share content on social media to help raise awareness.
  • Writing blogs and posts about my feelings, beliefs and values.
  • I’ve become an organisational member of Sussex Wildlife Trusts and a member of WWF. With SWT I’m also doing some pro bono work.
  • I became a vegetarian a few months ago.
  • I have written to my MP to ask what she is doing to champion this issue.

 

Now I don’t share this list to show off. Indeed, some will read my list and think I’m not doing very much. There may be things I will choose to do over the coming months. For example, right now I do not feel moved to join the protesters in London. That may or may not change.

 

The point of this blog is to show you how to find a sense of control over things that bigger than your direct sphere of influence. By finding ways to influence the issue where it intersects with your life will give you a sense of control. The greater your sense of control the less worry and fear you will experience.

What are you doing to take back control in your life.

 

 

 

 

How much control do you have over your reality?

Take back control by choosing the right path for you.

Your perceived sense of control over your life and what happens to you will have a significant impact on how stressed and uptight you are. We seldom worry about things we think we can control, we just take action.

 

If you don’t believe me write down a list of things that worry you and check how much control you have over each item. Give it a score out of 10 where zero is not control and 10 is one hundred percent within your control.

 

I wonder how many of you have noticed you feel an increased sense of control about the issues you have written down? Writing your worries down may have already shifted the level of control you feel right away.

 

For each item you now feel you have control over decide what you are going to do to resolve the issue. You may have some nice easy fixes. Other items may now have expanded creating unexpected new worries.

 

For example, you may have a worry about telling a relative that you would prefer them not to keep popping in unannounced. Speaking to them is one hundred percent within your control. Now that you have acknowledged this you may have now discovered something different to worry about!

 

Perhaps you now realise the real issue is how your relative may react. So the next step is to ask yourself a very important question.

 

“How is that a problem for you?”

 

The answer will be personal to you. Here are some common fears for this type of  issue:

  • upsetting the other person.
  • the person becoming angry.
  • the relationship might be damaged.
  • Being seen as uncaring or selfish.
  • Losing control of your own emotions.
  • Not being heard.

 

All of these fears (and others I’ve not mentioned) are valid and at the same time about something that hasn’t actually happened. You are worrying about an imagined outcome, even so, this is important data. Own your fears and use this information to help you work out the most effective way to gain an outcome that works for you on all levels.

 

From an NLP framework the fears indicate ‘positive intentions’ that need to be acknowledged and included in whatever action you decide to take. They are also indicators of the wider ‘ecology’ of the proposed actions.

 

You will notice that as you drill down on a ‘worry’ you are moving it further and further to within your control. You might realise that you need to do some research or get some coaching to develop the necessary skills to communicate your message. This is still putting you back in control. Often you will realise you already have what you need to take action effectively.

The more control you perceive you have, the easier it will be for you to relax and enjoy life. The more you are controlling your own reality.

Start working out plans for those things on your list that score five or above. Notice how much you now feel in control and how the worry and stress has lessened.

 

If you have issues that score below five I will have some ideas that may help you next week. Please do remember if you are struggling with major issues to reach out for support either in your own social network or to an appropriate professional. There will be someone who can help you.

 

 

How well do you manage stress in your life?

For Buck bath time is very stressful. What do you find stressful?

Managing stress is a key skill in self-care, how well are you doing managing your own levels of stress?

When I first started out as a corporate trainer I would often be asked to run “Stress Management” Courses. These days the same course is often re-branded as “Well-being” Training.

Whatever the title you still need to be able to handle stress. Over the next couple of weeks I will share a few ideas with you on managing stress so you can add some tools to your tool kit.

Before doing so I want to spend a few minutes defining stress. Firstly, stress is something you need in your life to some extent. Have you heard of the little used word, “eustress”? Eustress means positive stress.

Eustress is what provides you with the motivation to get up and do things. Without it nothing much would get done. Here are some definitions that can be applied to stress in general:

  • Your life-force. It is dynamic energy. It is stimulating and motivating.
  • Not a bad thing in itself. It is mismanagement of stress that can be harmful.
  • The result of unlabelled emotions. The rational mind needs to label things.
  • A reaction to a situation and not the situation itself.
  • A motivator. Without it there would be no change.
  • The basis for the Fight/Flight reaction.
  • Fuelled by such things as uncertainty, change, helplessness, conflict, pressure.
  • Dependant on inner and outer influences.
  • Caused and experienced in different ways by different people.
  • More likely to occur in people who are ambitious, driven, sensitive or anxious.

Negative stress is the point where eustress tips over into feelings of not being able to cope. This feeling of not being able to cope is based on how much perceived pressure you are experiencing versus your perceived ability to cope.

The essential word here is “perceived” on both counts. The first step in handling negative stress is to reality check the actual level of stressors in your life and challenge your level of control.

Change your perception and increase your well-being

Start today by listing those things in your life that are causing you worry or stress. Now ask yourself how much control do you have with each?

 

If it is within your control, what changes can you make?

If it is something you can influence, who and how do you need to influence?

If it is genuinely outside of your control how do you need to adapt or what do you need to do to gain some acceptance?

Next week we will dig a little deeper into this model and begin building some strategies to increase your ability to cope and then thrive. Thriving is the pathway to well-being and it run right through stress and out the other side.

 

If you are interested in deepening your own self-awareness I am running a workshop this month called “Transactional Analysis for Coaches”. This workshop provides some useful insights that can also help you manage your life better. Follow the link for details.