Call me biased, but Neuro Linguistic Programming is one of the best, if not THE best way for understanding human communication – this is why I studied for my NLP Master Practitioner Certificate earlier this year, and why I now feel so passionate about sharing my learnings with you. This year has thrown the unimaginable at us all, and honestly, it’s been a lot to process!
Neuro linguistic programming (NLP) can help you to identify and change negative thought patterns, assumptions and processes, with proven techniques and processes to help you address what is holding you back, and ultimately, to help you to live a more meaningful and enjoyable life!
Over the coming weeks I am going to share with you some NLP techniques which I believe to be the most beneficial when it comes to changing how we think, and the top tips and tricks that help us to feel happier in our day to day lives.
Today’s topic and one of my favourite techniques; Reframing.
So, let’s start with what framing is, and how it works.
Framing is a structure built around the beliefs you have about yourself, about others, your role within life, and the world around you - it is essentially a system that you subconsciously use to assign a meaning to something.
Your frames shape how you see the world, the people within it, and shapes how you understand your life – whether that be of a positive or negative nature, and both helpful and helpful. Your mind will frame things based on what you think, your beliefs, and what you value – this can be helpful in a sense that it allows you to explore new opportunities, however it can be really unhelpful if your frames are built upon limiting beliefs, and unfortunately, we all have plenty of those!
Limiting beliefs are largely set within your subconscious mind before you reach the age of 7 years old, and therefore you will be unknowingly setting yourself boundaries and limitations on what you think you can or can’t achieve and shutting down opportunities that are right in front of you based on beliefs that no longer serve you!
Once we become aware of the framing structure, and identify that the way we perceive the world is based on the frames that WE, OURSELVES have set, we can use the reframing technique to change this.
Changing the frame of something can have a huge influence on how you react and behave. Let’s say for example your boss hands you a major task at work and says you have one hour to complete it, you will likely feel flustered, under pressure, anxious, you’ll attempt to tackle the task with no real structure and the quality of the work will be poor. But what if you were handed the same major task and was told you’d have a week to complete it?
How different would your approach be? What would your emotional state be like? How much more comfortable would you feel about delivering a high-quality piece of work?
This is just a simple (theoretical) illustration to show how a small change to a frame can have a significant impact on the way you feel about a situation.
So, when it comes to reframing, you interrupt your thought pattern, and change the focus from negative and overwhelming, to positive and empowering. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, reframing allows you to identify the good, and shift your attention to that, rather than becoming a victim of circumstance.
It’s as simple as that…
But the more you do this in your day to day lives, the more this habit becomes ingrained within you, and I’m going to take you through the steps of how this can be done.
For reframing a thought, a feeling or a behaviour, you firstly need to identify exactly what thought, feeling or behaviour you wish to change.
Think about it…
Now think about what is holding you back from changing it. Write it down.
Establish a connection with whatever is triggering this unwanted feeling or behaviour. Is it a certain situation, an image, a voice? Pay attention to the impact this has on your feelings and all of your senses.
Recognise that every behaviour, whether helpful or unhelpful has a positive intent. More often than not, this is the work of your subconscious mind trying to keep you emotionally safe – for example, if you get angry or aggressive in a heated situation, at some point in the past this response may have got you what you wanted or kept you safe, however the same response in a different context will likely be perceived as destructive.
So what is the positive intent related to your unwanted behaviour?
Next, get creative…
Consider alternative ways that you can get the same outcome, without that bad habit. Using the example above, what are the alternative ways of achieving your desired outcome in a heated situation without getting angry or aggressive?
Take a deep breath and remove yourself from the situation for a moment.
Use these to create new behaviours. Now evaluate these new behaviours. Are they acceptable? Are they more effective than the habit that you are trying to break?
Stick it out, you have to be willing to try your new solution for long enough to see its full potential. If after this you are not satisfied with the alternatives, re-connect with the trigger and once again pay attention to how this makes you feel – follow the same process until you find the better alternative that ultimately breaks the habit!
As difficult as it may seem, in particular given the current circumstances, we all have a choice in how we are affected by all the goings on in life… it is not situations or other people that affect us emotionally, what affects us is how we respond. How we choose to respond.
Reframing is the art of actively choosing our responses.
As with making and breaking any other habit, reframing takes practice… but consider the alternative?!
As always, I am happy to discuss any of today’s content in more detail with anyone who wishes, and if you would like to run through the above steps on a 1:1 basis, I will be more than happy to do so!
Thank you once again for taking the time to read this today. I really hope it has resonated with you somehow and made you more aware of your unhelpful thoughts, feelings and behaviours so that you can start reframing them. Please feel free to share this with friends, family, or anyone that you feel will benefit from it. You can also get in contact with me directly should you wish to; firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can't wait to hear from you all about how these actions have led to positive changes in your life, but for now, I leave you with this:
“You can transform the world by changing the way you see it.
The key to transforming anything lies in your ability to reframe it.”
NLP Master Practitioner