Retune Your Brain to Think Positive (Helping to achieve a positive outlook using basic NLP)
Most of us have had the experience of feeling incredibly positive about an event, a person, or an outcome we have worked hard for, but often that feeling doesn’t last. As the event becomes a memory so does the positive feeling. You may recall that as a child you might wake up each morning feeling good about nothing in particular, for no reason at all. Imagine being able to do that every day for the rest of your life.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) was developed by Richard Bandler & John Grinder almost 40 years ago and NLP is still one of the leading tools for personal development and lasting change for the positive.
“After we’re born, we have so much knowledge and expertise to acquire – everything from walking, talking, and feeding ourselves to making decisions about what we want to do with the rest of our lives. Our brains are quick to learn how to automate behavior. Of course, this doesn’t mean the brain always learns the right behavior to automate; quite often, our brains learn to do things that make us miserable and even sick”
− Richard Bandler, “Make Your Life Great” (2010)
So if we have accidentally learned some thought patterns that make us miserable in either a particular circumstance or life in general, how do we go about changing them to a more ‘think positive’ approach?
Virginia Satir (family therapist) suggests three things need to be in place first:
- You must be so sick of feeling negative, miserable, etc. that you decide you really want to change;
- You have to see the problem of feeling negative from a new perspective;
- You must find or create new and appealing options.
If you create for yourself the choice of a positive change, you are more likely to choose the positive option than the negative ones.
You could start by asking yourself: “Do I want to experience my first day of feeling incredibly positive for no reason in particular today or tomorrow?” and “Do I want to feel positive in general or about a particular event or person?”
To retune your brain to be more positive, complete this exercise:
- Relax and breathe deeply and as you relax, it becomes easier and easier to let your imagination play.
- Now imagine another you, standing in front of you, this is the most wonderfully positive, feeling good for no reason at all, you, that you can possibly imagine – your authentic positive self.
- Take some time to feel totally happy with the positive you, notice the way the positive you stands, smiles, breathes, talks, moves. Notice how positivity simply radiates like shimmering light from the positive you, notice how the positive you handles problems and achieves goals.
- Now turn the positive you around and step into and integrate with your authentic positive self. See through the eyes of your positive self, hear through the ears of your positive self and feel how great feeling positive feels.
- Spend some time daydreaming about how your life will improve as you life more and more as your positive authentic self.
Many people find it beneficial to complete the exercise first thing on a morning before getting up or last thing at night (do not try the exercise whilst driving or operating machinery). You can use this exercise as part of your general development or when you need an extra shot of that ‘think positive’ attitude.