Feeling Down

August 24, 2007 § Leave a comment

   In my opinion unhelpful patterns of thinking can contribute to someone less than happy in the abscence of any significant negative events. By changing them I believe you can start to take control of the ‘happy chemicals’ flowing through your system.

So, what’s your strategy for feeling good or bad? Let me give you an example of what I mean.  A client I was seeing recently was feeling very down. One aspect of this was her inability to tackle any of the jobs she had to do, like weeding the garden or clean out the cupboards. She had even lost the will to sit down and paint pictures which was her favourite hobby. Ever time she thought of doing a task she would become despondent and loose all energy, become overwhelmingly tired and often she would take to her bed. Sometimes she couldn’t bring herself to get out of bed in the morning.

 So we sat down together and really picked apart what her strategy was. We started with the weeding and concentrated on the thought ‘I should do some weeding’ and the point where she became overcome with fatigue and decided to do something else or nothing. That period of time was about a half a second. So what was going on?

 Well the thought would come into her head ‘lets do some weeding’. Then she would see a picture of the garden looking lovely and weed free. So far so good…. Then a voice inside would say ‘but it would takes hours and hours of work to make it look that good’. Then she would feel that she didn’t have enough energy to do the whole garden so what was the point in even starting. Then she would think of  another job and the same process would kick off, and another job… then a wave of tiredness, then bed. 

So we changed her strategy so that when she thought of a job, she would make pictures of a small piece of it completed. I also explained that the unconscious mind is like a bunch of seven year olds (topic for another blog) and if you wanted to get them to do anything, why not speak to them like she speaks to her kids. Imagine saying to kids ‘right , I want you to help me with the weeding, you will be there for hours, and it may not make that big an impact. You will feel sore after it… go to it.’ What do you think would happen? Motivated … not! Try this – ‘ kids, we are going out to the fresh air to play in the sun. I want you to weed that little bit over there and make  it  look really lovely and as a reward I’m going to let you do something that you really love’. Or something like that.  

In addition to this she created a metaphor which was the seashore with a bright iridescent sea into which she threw waterproof boxes containing each task. The boxes had ribbons on top and floated on the water. Whenever she needed to do a task she would pull one of the boxes out of the water and open it. This stopped her from being overwhelmed by all the tasks. It also meant that when she thought about a task she would automatically go to her ‘happy place’ where she felt calm. 

NLP is about making  really basic changes to the way we think and installing new strategies and patterns of behaviours which leave us in a much more resourceful state. 

 Minds Change provides one-to-one coaching and training courses and is based in Glasgow, Scotland.

For more information about NLP visit  http://www.mindschange.com 

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