Are you like most people – do you have a negative voice that sometimes drives you crazy with its chatter inside your head? Well, I had a voice who loved to show me movies along with the constant commentary.
I would start my day getting some exercise, eating breakfast, and getting ready to go out for the day. Then it would hit. The negative voice starts its movie – vivid images of me getting in an accident in the taxi if that was the mode of transportation I had selected for the day. The taxi would flip and despite my seat belt, I would be thrown about and end up in the hospital fighting for my life. If I was taking the bus, the movie was focused on a large truck hitting the bus on the expressway and tumbling us over into the sea. Again, I would wind up in the hospital fighting for my life. If I took my motorcycle, I would see myself making a mistake and getting thumped by a car, rolling over its roof and on to the ground or worse, tossed twenty feet into oncoming traffic. My mind seemed to be getting better and better at making the accident more and more horrific. All the while my voice would tell me that I would be alone in the hospital. No one would come visit me so I might as well not even try to live. UGH! What a way to start the day!
Along comes Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and I learned that while my mind was getting more proficient at making up these nasty videos, I was unconsciously searching for danger everywhere. I was constantly in a state of panic, stress and fear. Then I learned about submodalities. These are the qualities of our senses that we can play with and adjust to make our lives better.
Let’s take my video of the daily accidents as an example. What would happen if I paused the video like it was a picture, turned it to black & white and pushed it farther and farther away from me? Would I still feel the fear? No, I didn’t as it turns out. And what would happen if instead of changing the video to a picture, I made it into a comedy where I was a cartoon character like road-runner that never seemed to die? Beep-beep! That worked for me too. And what if, while I was changing this video, I asked myself, “What do I want instead?” and then created a richly detailed, bright and appealing video of what I wanted to have happen that day?
This is exactly what I did. Every time the negative “death” video started in my head, I would stop it then play the video of my goals for the day in rich detail. Pretty soon, my mind started creating this video of my day first instead of waiting for the death video to start. With more practice and repetition, the death video went away completely.
Don’t get me wrong, when I’m riding my motorcycle, my mind is still cautious and may bring up something for me to be aware of. The difference is, now I can focus on saying, “Yes, I know I need to be alert and careful” and play the video of me safely driving and arriving at my destination. I’m not ignoring my inner dialogue’s warnings. I’m stopping them from getting out of control.
Horace said, “Rule your mind or it will rule you.” Learning about submodalities in NLP really helped me to rule my mind. When you learn about submodalities, you too can change your experiences instantly.
Next week is about “The Drama Queen” and how to eliminate overreacting to life.