“I can’t stand this any longer; it’s too much. I am going to die!”
Said my coaching client after a heartfelt discussion about living in a world of corona. She had lost her job, and her boyfriend left her without even a word, and now had to live out with a friend as she couldn’t afford to pay her rent alone.
“How I am supposed not to worry and not to feel so down when everything goes wrong…I don’t have any more reasons to live; maybe this is the end.” She continued sobbing in front of me, and only tears were to be seen all over her beautiful young face.
Recalling the five stages of grief denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, she was dealing with the depressive wave that I had to explain to her scientifically yet still be compassionate empathetic, and offer heartfelt solutions.
This is just one of the examples I have been faced with during the pandemic, not even want to speak about all the desperate voices of friends and acquaintances I had to hear daily, getting drowned in depression and tears of anger and resentment.
What helped me endure that sorrow and still be able to listen attentively, patiently absorb their pain and commit to assisting them in reaching the stage of emotional comprehension?
I fell in love with NLP ( Neuro Linguistic Programming ) when I was heartbroken and couldn’t deal with it for over a year. I felt so emotional yet so angry about the fact I had been left alone after years of promises of a life-lasting commitment.
This is where the anxious and stressed person in me was born – will I ever be able to love again, will I ever be able to trust again, and is it worth even trying? What if I am not destined to have a partner? What if it is in my stars to live and die lonely? Thoughts rushed through my brain like a speed boat in the clear sea. Anxiety took over my health and, day after day, got worse.
I guess at that time, the NLP course found me and offered itself to me as an instant gratification of my desire to get out of my painful body. It seemed a logically reasonable solution to stop the vicious and purposeless cycle of repeatedly making the same mistakes in life. And not being able to interpret the pattern. I remember a teacher of NLP inviting me to do a technique on broken heart cure that I jumped into passionately as I was sick of being and acting sick.
And then, just like in a magical story, all the techniques we did on emotional freedom tapping and how it enabled the rewiring of my neurological paths created a new, healthier, better-looking image of myself. It took me exactly 24 hours to throw away all the stuff I kept devotedly over a year with me still hoping for “him” to return. I have re-framed my statement from being left and lonely to living free and independent and starting to enjoy it.
How does NLP work?
Nowadays, adapting to the new circumstances of life compels your brain to think and behave similarly to a first day at school scenario where you don’t know what to expect. You enter a new world with different sets of rules and guidelines that provokes naturally high-stress levels.
Along with that, going through the grief phases on what has been lost in your mind often drives you to a response you already know and are familiar with: anger, depression or denial.
NLP teaches us how to program our linguistics, aiming to change our neuron network and communication.
“There is only love and fear.” Rumi
As my NLP teacher states, “Think of your mind as a flexible tool and not a fixed one, instead of a Mindset as a Mindflex” and start looking at unconventional and out-of-the-box ideas that can be feasible now and implemented at the soonest rather than going through regrets over the lost reality. What she uses as an example is a jelly that adapts to the shape of each form you place it in. Now, impose that jelly to some heat and mould it into a shape you like and enjoy. Similarly, through powerful NLP techniques ( the fire ), you can shape your mind into a formation you like and want for your desired outcome. Neuroplasticity teaches you that the mind can change, and the more you stay flexible, the more you make your mind and your body flexible.
The basic internal protective mechanism of our brain, called “the fight-flight-freeze” is here to respond to threat, anxiety and fear. Let us now dissect FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real, understand it is not real and accept stress as a good stimulus in your life to promote growth, resilience and strength of your mind. Since you love your life, choose and work toward a flexible mindset and learn new ways to move ahead on your journey.
Three powerful techniques to deal with Anxiety and Stress
Circle of Excellence
This is an easy yet potent NLP technique that can help in times of inability to move ahead or lose a sense of direction.
You had a time when you felt best as an individual and a leader and were great at what you were doing, at your work, at your home or leisure.
Now think of the lifetime when that happened, and you felt at your best! Where do you feel that feeling? What colour is it? Think about the state of excellence and size. What does it say to you? Is there any smell or taste? Get all of your senses involved to embark on that sensual journey. Now feel great and imagine you can step into that circle of excellence and be and have that state all the time you wish. Return to the normal state, make observations, and step into your circle of excellence again. Once again, go through all the feelings you experience: how does it feel to be at your best? What colour does it have? Involve all the senses. Now make it bigger and brighter, smell that excellence, take a deep breath, see the brighter colour, the more oversized shape, and make it so as you enjoy it. Now, you can put that excellence circle in the chair where you study or work or in the bed you are sleeping in for a more relaxed state of mind or exam to increase your focus and productivity—10%, which is huge. Yet the exercise is so simple that anyone can do it.
The Spinning Feeling
This technique allows you to locate and reshape a bodily feeling of stress and anxiety and give it a different positive sensation. Think of a situation that caused you anxiety. Think about the feeling – where does it start, and where does it go? Does it go up or down: close your eyes and put yourself in that situation; does it go up and then down, or both ways? Where does it start, right, left or centre of the body? Get that feeling – does it clench, does it vibrate? Follow the path of the feeling, and now notice what size it has – does it start small and go big? Is it within the body or beyond the body? Now determine what colour it is, and finally, when it goes down or up, which way does it spin: clockwise or anti-clockwise? Great, now put yourself in the situation again, and this time reverse the direction of the spin, change the colour to a colour you love and add some sparkles to it like a festive fireworks or Christmas tree lightning; make it fun. Would it be ok to have this response rather than the old one? Is there perhaps a situation in which the old response is valuable? Put yourself back in another situation where you most likely will have the old response and see if you can get the old response again using the new technique. Try to get the old response; perhaps now the old response started appearing, and you remembered to do the new one and cancel the old one. Now try that with a future situation where you most likely will be having anxiety and stress again, such as financial despair, family or relationship issues, etc. Put yourself in that situation and use the new response. How does it feel?
With this therapy, you will re-frame your perspective about an upcoming challenge and prepare yourself to perform at your best .
imagine a timeline of your past, present and future. With your eyes closed, imagine that your timeline extends into your past and the other end expands to the future – right to left, back to front…whatever seems logical to you. Now, if I ask your subconscious mind where your past is, in which direction will that be, from the point of your body in that direction and then in the direction of the future? Visualize your timeline now – if it has a colour what colour will it be, and open your eyes.
Think about an event that is stressing you out. Now close your eyes and visualize that future situation playing out. Where do you feel that nervousness in your body, get into it and feel it, rate it from 1 to 10, and how strong it is.
Open your eyes and take a deep breath in.
Let’s take a moment to close our eyes and ask ourselves now, “What are the opportunities of this future event that can benefit me in this situation? “ If things went better than you can ever imagine, what are the benefits of taking on this challenge and what could make you excited about this opportunity? Take a deep breath and imagine the benefits you experience. if things played out better than you could imagine. See what you like to see, hear what you like to hear, and feel it. Now, you are in the present moment of your timeline, facing the future. Now, I would like you to visualize if you could float above the timeline simply higher until you are at a comfortable height looking on from above.
Now, gently turn into the direction of your future and begin to float to your future as far as you need to go. Float in the future and go even further until you are an hour past the successful completion of that event.
The event is over, and you made it through, realising that everything turned out even better than you had imagined. Gently turn and look back towards now from a safe place in your future to your present moment.
You will come back to the now only as quickly as you can learn everything you need to learn about this event to thoroughly prepare yourself for its success. Now float back to your present and realize your subconscious mind made all the adjustments you need to make for this event to happen with its all success. Now take another deep breath in and down to your belly, and welcome back.
Try to think about that event again, you might even realize as much as you try to think of that anxious feeling as more elusive it becomes. Isn’t it right? How are things different now? Take a deep breath and come now and here.
Many recent studies suggest that NLP has potential as a therapeutic tool in the treatment of symptoms of anxiety and depression associated with PTSD. The individuals who worked with NLP experts experienced an improvement in their emotional state in up to 10 % of cases in all three: Depression, Anxiety and Stress. Much of our modern anxiety is based on the fear that we are not in control of our minds. NLP takes a different approach to treating anxiety, stating there is a subconscious mind but it seeks to help us; it’s our friend as long as we know how to communicate with it. NLP is the new language ability we can develop to speak to our conscious and subconscious mind through techniques and tools helping us feel better, more resourceful, and empowered to live a life we appreciate and desire.