NLP Can Help Reduce Stress

November 9, 2013 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ NLP Articles


Reducing Stress – How NLP Can Help

By Heena Pattni

Following on from our previous article, Reducing Stress – Key Success Factors, we will now look at practical ways in which you can reduce stress and anxiety, without recourse to drugs or other expensive and time consuming treatments.

These practical ways are based around NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming – and we must first understand what this is.

Neuro Linguistic Programming is a collection of techniques that allow us to understand how our minds work, and apply this knowledge so that we can achieve greater success in life and make positive changes to better ourselves.

It is unsurprising therefore that NLP has its basis in Psychology. NLP was founded by John Grinder and Richard Bandler back in the 1970s. Working together, they found a way to turn excellent behaviour into a process. They then sought to teach that process to others, so that anyone can learn excellent behaviour. Their work is based upon their study of eminent experts in human behaviour, including Virginia Satir, Gregory Bateson, Milton Erickson and Fritz Perls.

Bandler and Grinder initially studied these eminent therapists and found them to be excellent communicators – they all generated amazing changes with their clients purely through their conversations and the clever use of their language with their clients. This is where Bandler and Grindler came up with the term Neuro Linguistic Programming:

Neuro – How we use our nervous system to experience the world around us. All the information that enters into our brain using our five senses of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.

Linguistic – How we use language and other non-verbal communication systems to interpret this information – pictures (is it focussed and clear or hazy), sounds (is it a loud or quiet noise), touch (does it feel rough or smooth), smell (does it smell fresh as a daisy or is it an odour of decay), taste (does it taste too salty or too sweet).

Programming – Once we have interpreted all this information, we run programmes (often unconsciously) to get things done. We are not aware that we are running them; they are just part of our routine. For example, brushing our teeth twice a day, or washing our face, or our daily drive in to work. Using all the information in our mind we can find out what is in that programme. If there’s something that needs changing we can do so. For example if you can write presentations easily but get anxious about standing up and actually presenting, or you find it easy to talk to your boss informally but get nervous when you ask for a promotion or pay rise, or you play sports excellently for fun but always lose in competitions, NLP can help.

NLP teaches you how to change your unwanted actions into excellent actions and behaviours, so instead of feeling anxious about having to lead the client presentation and how you might mess this up, your behaviour would be to feel excited and motivated about how well you will be able to lead the client presentation.

NLP is formed around the concept that all behaviour is rooted in the unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is the bit of the brain that is always functioning, and runs all our necessary programmes, even though we are not aware of this, like making sure we keep breathing when we are sleeping.

The unconscious mind stores all our memories, processes all our experiences, filters everything we feel, hear, see, taste and smell, and it attaches emotion to everything we do.

NLP shows us how to access our unconscious minds, and also provides techniques for making changes at the unconscious level. Because the change is unconscious, it is easier, faster and more permanent.

Consider this example – A few years ago I was standing in my friend’s garden with her, her husband and her two year old son, who was playing at her feet. A large cat suddenly jumped onto her garden wall. She screamed and grabbed her son. He instantly picked up on her fear and started crying. The cat stayed immobile on the wall. Her husband, annoyed that she had taught their son to be frightened of cats, took him from her, and tried to show him that the cat was friendly, but his son was terrified, even though the cat had not attacked anyone. He had learned, in an instant, to be afraid of cats.

Anxiety is a learnt behaviour. The brain does not differentiate between a wanted or unwanted behaviour. It just does things to get results. So, where you have learnt to feel anxious in a situation, you can unlearn that too.

You can also learn positive behaviours instantly. If you change your hair style and everyone tells you how great it looks, you automatically style it that way more often.

Every time you have a moment of realisation like this, your brain makes a new connection and you are learning.

And it is in this ability to use NLP techniques to unlearn unwanted behaviour, and learn desired behaviour, that one solution to anxiety lays.

Look out for the next article in this series shortly.

Heena Pattni, Anxiety Treatment Specialist, is committed to providing professional women with tailored, painless, effective and long-lasting solutions to their anxiety, stress and related issues, using powerful NLP Therapy, Time Line Therapy and Hypnotherapy techniques. She is committed to providing them with the ongoing resources to maintain the positive changes they make during their time with her, freeing her clients to pursue their goals with increased confidence, motivation and determination. Visit us at

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