NLP and positive psychology approach silver linings in different ways. I don’t know about you, but I had some people deliver silver linings to me in moments where this was highly inappropriate. Meaning I wanted to poke their eyeball out with a pencil. This shows that people should be taking both NLP training and emotional intelligence training before they earn their stripes to launch these statements at others.
What is a silver lining?
Scientists from the world of positive psychology have come up with different answers. Still, those definitions have in common they are about finding the good or the positive in otherwise negative situations.
Another term used by psychologists is: “mental contrasting.”
In NLP, the closest to the concept of a silver lining is “reframing.” Which is actually fairly old-school NLP, and not taught everywhere anymore.
When you use it well, it will increase your resilience. When used well on others, it allows you to shift the mind away from the negative to the positive. To let the brain go here, the positive. Rather than there, the negative.
What does research show?
I made this video a few weeks ago to discuss the latest research in silver linings.
What is a great NLP silver lining or reframing exercise?
There are different reframes in NLP. We will focus on content (or a meaning) reframes, where you shift the meaning of a situation into a positive.
Content Reframe: The content or meaning of a situation is determined by what you choose to focus on. One of my favorite NLP reframes is: “Failure is feedback.” I am the biggest failure in any NLP training I teach, I have been failing at NLP for decades. But I have had an insane amount of feedback for learning. This is why I am the teacher.
An exercise that will make you laugh, but also to get very good at reframing, is this:
Think of a negative statement you have made about a negative situation lately, or perhaps one you regularly make.
Come up with the funniest, most outlandish positive reframe you can come up with.
Keep doing it, but you must become faster and faster at it.
Should you do this with others? This exercise, sure. It may be a good party game. But with coaching clients? Or people who come to you with problems? Not if you care about your life. I am just kidding. There actually may be some benefit. An outlandish reframe causes a “pattern interrupt”, a shock wave in essence. It allows the brain to reset. And the negative looped thoughts get interrupted. Tony Robbins is known for making outlandish, sometimes sexually-oriented statements. Though I personally can not get away with them without people getting offended (I am not Tony.) They can be helpful. It is something to be careful about though; you don’t want to maim someone in this process.
What is a great positive psychology silver lining exercise?
This exercise will only take 10-15 minutes a day.
It was developed by:
Sergeant, S., & Mongrain, M. (2014). An online optimism intervention reduces depression in pessimistic individuals. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82(2), 263-274.
Briefly, write down five things that make life extraordinary, worth living, put a little zest in. Put yourself in a good positive mood here.
Think of the last time you felt frustrated because things didn’t go your way. In other words, your first-world problems. Please write it down briefly; no novels here.
List 3 things that make you look at the brighter side of this situation.
The pandemic prevented me from doing my job as an NLP trainer who usually does NLP training worldwide. On the bright side: 1)The change in schedule allowed me to visit some of the most beautiful destinations in the world and be the only person there to enjoy them. 2) It forced me to be in a bubble with the people I care about. Rather than everyone. 3) The change made me put my life’s work online. (NLP Practitioner and NLP Master Practitioner, paired with coaching certification.)
Do this exercise for three weeks, daily.
Please feedback how these NLP and positive psychology silver linings exercises work for you?