Neuro-Linguistic Programming training offers a whole host of techniques and tools based on studies of successful people. Some of the Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques can be useful individually to reduce stress, some in combination with each other.
Before I offer you my tips from the world of Neuro-Linguistic programming, let me explain a little bit as to what stress is. Stress is an activation of the fear center of the brain (Amygdala); it tells us our fight or flight response. The thinking part of the brain (prefrontal cortex) tells the amygdala to stop activating once there is safety. The amygdala is also at rest during sleep. When we experience a moment of stress, the amygdala activates, and the prefrontal cortex shuts it down. But after pro-longed moments of stress (and lack of sleep), the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex become deregulated. The amygdala needs training to calm down again.
There are two ways to accomplish this: Meditation, and grounding. NLP can be useful in both. It mostly finds its place in grounding. As I want this article to also be accessible to those who have never taken any Neuro-Linguistic Programing training, each tip about stress I will explain for those who have taken classes and for those who have not.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming Stress Reduction Tips
Association in a Relaxing Environment
Think of the most relaxing environment you have ever visited or would like to visit one day (consult images online if you need to). Imagine that you are in this location right now. What do you see, hear, and feel? Smell and taste? Can you make the colors more relaxing somehow, or the quality of the sound?
For those who took Neuro-Linguistic Programming training, the recommended tools here are: association, 4-tupling, shifting submodalities.
Suggestions for locations: beach, mountains, hammock, middle of a lake, on a river.
Creating a Stimulus-Response Anchor
Find a specific place in your home, a particular place on the couch, a chair at the kitchen table, a spot in the yard. Habitually assign this location to relaxing feelings. Any time you are in this specific spot, you aren’t to do anything but relax. Eventually, the brain creates a stimulus-response through repetition. Your body starts to relax once the stimulus is there. The best way to do this is by first getting into the emotional state that combats stress for you like relaxation, joy, or comfort. And the moment you feel this emotion very strongly, then sit or move into the location.
Think of palov’s dog. Pavlov would ring a bell while feeding the dogs. Eventually, through repetition, the dogs would salivate even when the bell was rung but no food was given. In this case, you intentionally set this up to facilitate the reduction of stress.
For those who took Neuro-Linguistic Programming training, the recommended tools here are: anchoring and state elicitation.
Sleeping Goals and Habit Changes
Set a goal for yourself to become a better sleeper. People around the world have chronic stress and are sleep-deprived. This means, try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, go to bed and wake up at routine times. Set this as a goal that’s important to you, much like you set a goal once to complete high school and worked on it daily. True commitment.
Sleep is the best household remedy to reduce stress. Also, you may want to use the tool discussed under tip #2 to create a stimulus-response of your bed to be for sleep or sex only. It isn’t a work environment, learning, news, or TV.
For those who took Neuro-Linguistic Programming training, the recommended tools here are: well-formed outcomes, and goal-setting on a timeline.
Reducing Rumination and Increasing Savoring
Scientific studies have shown that people with minds that don’t wander off are happier and less stressed. This includes thinking about positive things. But if your mind does think like this, can you stop it? Especially if it is chronic negative thinking? Yes, you can, but that’s a more complicated technique taught in master practitioner training of NLP.
The trick is to use NLP to reduce ruminating about adverse events, and to start increasing the savoring of good events. Check-out our previous article as to how to do this.
For those who took Neuro-Linguistic Programming training, the recommended tools here are: reframing, discovering positive intent, association, four-tupling.
Meditation and Allowing the Body to Go There First
As meditation is such a powerful tool to reduce stress, it cannot be ignored. Don’t know how to meditate? Read our article on Headspace meditation.
You could set meditation as a goal. Other than meditating daily, can you imagine what you will see, hear, and feel the moment your stress reduces, your concentration gets better, your emotions feel better regulated. All benefits of meditation.
Most meditations contain a body scan. When you scan your body from the top of your head down to the tips of your toes, what does non-stress or relaxation feel like? For example, how does your stomach feel? Are your shoulders relaxed? Jaw slightly dropped? Is there an energy flow inside your body? Your breathing? If you know exactly what it feels like on the inside of your body, could you intentionally create it? For example, by letting the jaw drop, or muscles relax. Next time when you meditate, consider the possibility to add a moment where you intentionally allow the body to go towards a more relaxed state. You can use this technique as well outside of meditation.
For those who took Neuro-Linguistic Programming training, the recommended tools here are kinesthetic sensory acuity, kinesthetic submodalities, and well-formed outcomes.