Thursday, December 23, 2010

Zooming Disease off to the Sun

In keeping with the theme of health and wellness from the last few posts, and as a christmas pressie to all my readers, I’d like to give you a gift of a simple yet life enhancingly powerful technique for healthing your life.

The following process combines the NLP and PNI ideas and skills described throughout this and earlier blog posts. Use this technique to interrupt any negative or limiting health or disease patterns.

I have successfully used this technique to get rid of headaches, stomach-aches, sore throats and stop the onset of colds and flu’s at the early stage. I’ve also taught this technique to a huge number of people who have reported similar success. The technique works by both sending a metaphorical message to your unconscious mind and through the use of submodalities. Give it a go and you’ll be surprised and delighted at how such a simple process can have such amazing results.

Interrupt any pain or disease pattern by:

  1. Make an image outside your body of the presenting complaint. For example, if you want to get rid of a sore throat or a headache then make an image just in front of you, it might be a black blob or pointy object – something that matches the pain or feeling you want to get rid of
  2. Imagine the Sun off in the distance and then quickly zoom the image off to the Sun, way in the distance. See the object getting smaller and smaller till it disappears, burnt up in the Sun
  3. Note that this technique works most powerfully when you place the image of the Sun in the direction of the ‘past’. To find this, point to the direction in which you feel the past is for you. You can find this by thinking of something that happened in the past and noticing where in your visual field that image comes from or is located i.e. the submodality of position/location of the image
  4. Also make a zooming sound as you zoom off the object and make a sizzling, burning up sound as it disappears into the Sun. The sound really makes a positive effect to this technique, so make sure you do it out loud
  5. Repeat this process, three to five times, getting faster and faster. Don’t worry if you can only do the imagery in an ‘as if’ way, it will still work powerfully
  6. Now just let go and get on with your day. You’ll find that in a couple of minutes, or over the course of the day your problem or symptoms will decrease and disappear. Your powerful unconscious mind and immune system will now make you better

In using this technique, be respectful of the underlying message that the symptom is attempting to communicate to you. If symptoms return or persist, then seek competent medical attention. This technique should not be used to mask symptoms of a serious disorder. It is however, very useful for stopping the beginnings of a viral infection such as a cold, or for assisting your immune system and unconscious mind in helping you get over a cold or flu.

By using it repeatedly throughout the course of an illness, and providing you are doing everything sensible to help yourself get better, this technique will help speed up your recovery.

You can also use it to get rid of negative thoughts, fears and pessimistic ideas. Just make an image of the thing you want to get rid of from your mind and life and zoom it off to the Sun. You can make the process even more powerful by zooming back in a replacement positive thought or feeling. Have fun with this technique and use it to replace negative health patterns with new behaviours of vitality and joy.

life enhancing thoughts and wishes for a Merry Christmas and a great New Year,

NLP and Health : Using NLP to Enhance Your Health and Well-Being

Using Your Brain--For a Change: Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Saturday, December 18, 2010

PNI - Psycho-Neuro-Immunology

Your thoughts and emotions influence your immune system and vice-versa. Research in the field of Psycho Neuro Immunology (PNI) over the last 30 years has shown how tightly coupled the mind and body are. There is now a huge body of published evidence documenting at the neurological and biochemical level, how states of mind such as anxiety, depression and anger affect the functioning of immune cells – T-cells, B-cells, Natural Killer cells, and macrophages.

The communication and control pathways exist both ways. For example, the nervous system directly synapses down onto immune cells in the lymph nodes. In return, there are receptors in the brain for communication chemicals such as hormones, peptides and cytokines that are released by immune cells. The brain and immune systems are an intertwined complex system. What affects one, affects the other.

To illustrate this, let’s look at the results of a classic experiment on the immune effects of emotion. Researchers asked method actors to simulate either positive emotions like happiness or negative emotions like anger and depression. Immune system function was measured before, during and after short period of emotional expression.

The results showed that positive emotions caused a measurable and significant increase in immune cell function and activity. More importantly however, negative emotions had both a larger and longer lasting negative effect on the immune system. Negative emotions cause a down-regulation in immune cell and system functioning that can last for many hours after the emotional event.

Other experiments have shown that the effect can also work in reverse. When the immune system is under attack from a pathogen like a flu virus or cold, it releases messenger molecules that cause a down-regulation in mood. It’s your body’s way of getting you to conserve energy, to remove yourself from others, to allow your immune system to get on with the job of protecting you. Whenever you are physically run-down or have a decreased immune function you will find yourself feeling slightly depressed and unhappy.

There are numerous documented cases of people using a mixture of humour, visualisation and meditation to overcome debilitating diseases such as cancer. Norman Cousins is a famous example. In the mid-1960’s he was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a degenerative disease that causes the breakdown of the fibrous tissue binding the body’s cells together. Almost completely paralysed and given only a few months to live, Cousins ordered himself checked out of hospital and moved into a hotel room where he began taking extremely high doses of laughter and humour. He literally laughed his way back to health, and eventually returned to full-time work and a normal life. Cousins detailed his amazing journey in his book “Anatomy of an Illness”.

Here are some more fascinating results from recent research on the interaction between health and happiness
  • People who score high on psychological tests assessing happiness, produce about 50% more antibodies than the average person in response to flu vaccines
  • Individuals that test high on scales for happiness, optimism and contentment have reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and infections
  • Researchers found that subjects who practiced acts of happiness and gratitude had raised energy levels, improved physical health and experienced less fatigue and pain
  • One important study found that optimistic individuals reduced their risk of death by 50% over the nine year period of the study.

The main message and insight from these examples and the field of PNI is that your health, thoughts and emotions are interdependent and entwined. The more happiness and joy you feel, the better your immune system will respond. The greater your health, the more life enhancing positive feelings of joy and happiness you’ll be able to experience. There really is wisdom in the saying “a healthy mind in a healthy body”.

Thinking Tools – The Body-Mind Health Spiral

Your mind and body are connected in a loop – thoughts, feelings, beliefs and health influence each other!

Awareness Questions – Focusing on Health and Wellness

Ask Yourself:
  • What are my beliefs about my health? Do I believe I can easily achieve health and wellness?
  • What are the behaviours that I do that negatively impact my health? How can I stop them?
  • What behaviours can I do that will improve my health and wellness? How can I support myself for greater healthing?

Want to learn more, get a copy of my book: Avoiding the Enemies to HAPPINESS!

Wishing you life enhancing wellness,

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Life Enhancing Resilience

Resilience is the positive ability to bounce back, to adapt and cope well with adversity, threats, family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or other stressful events. It is typically characterised by patterns of positive adaptation to negative situations.

Research in Positive Psychology has shown there are a number of life enhancing strategies that can help build resilience, toughness and psychological strength.

Not surprisingly, since the mind and body are intrinsically linked, it has been shown that building physical toughness and resilience increases psychological and emotional resilience and strength. Even taking a cold shower, or swimming in cold water has been shown to increase mental toughness. So make sure you exercise and increase your level of physical strength and fitness.

Close relationships with family and friends can help create and support resilience. Loving, nurturing relationships help buffer against stress and can assist in overcoming adversity.

Optimism and hope also increase resilience. Seeing problems as opportunities for self discovery and personal development can really make a difference. Focusing on your strengths and values has been shown to strengthen resilience. So continue to set and achieve realistic outcomes and goals that utilise your key strengths.

One of the most powerful tools however for building resilience is the use of engagement and flow. Regularly involve yourself in activities that generate flow. For me reading, running, skiing, kayaking, motor-bike riding, hiking are all life enhancing activities that engender a state of flow. For you, the activities may be very different. The key is to find and then regularly practice activities that put you into deep states of flow. This will build psychological and emotional capital and help you overcome life’s challenges.

Remember, the more you practice these life enhancing resilience strategies, the stronger and more resilient you will become and the more able you’ll be to overcome any challenges in your life.

Life enhancing wishes

Friday, December 3, 2010

Habits and Patterns

"Sow a thought and you reap an act; Sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
Samuel Smiles

Creating Positive Patterns

The neural network of the brain is a patterning system. It takes inputs and forms patterns from them. It evolved to enable your organism to repeat learned behaviors. Every time you perform a thought or action, it increases the probability that you will perform that thought or action again. That’s how the brain works.

So you need to be very, very careful what thoughts and behaviors you do in your life. Because, without being aware, you can end up with life denying habits and patterns that don’t serve you.

Building Unconscious Competencies

The above diagram shows the NLP Staircase of Learning model. Through repeated actions, you build unconscious competence. You build an unconscious part that knows how to accurately repeat and perform the learned behavior. This might be a physical behavior, an emotional behavior or a cognitive behavior. You can end up with habits and patterns of physiology, feeling or thought.

Behaviors that were learned in one context or time of your life, may no longer be appropriate or useful in your current context or time of life. What at first appeared fun, exciting and interesting, can swiftly become something that is slowly killing you. Or put more accurately, you may be killing yourself by repeating old patterns of thinking and behaving.

That’s what addiction is all about. Nobody starts off doing something they truly believe will kill them or damage them. They start off doing the behavior, believing they are getting some sort of benefit. The smoker gets stimulation, peer group acceptance, or maybe even a sense of being ‘cool’. The drinker gets relaxation, camaraderie and an altered state. But once the pattern of addiction has formed, once the brain and body have changed the number of chemical receptors to match the elevated levels in the bloodstream, the person is hooked. They are slowly killing themselves – performing slow suicide – and it’s not so easy to stop.

Negative habits, patterns and addictions are absolute life denying enemies to happiness. They take away from your life. They take away not just quantity, but more importantly they destroy the quality of your life. Drugs, smoking, drinking excessively, overeating are all enemies to happiness. They might provide some small secondary gains, some side benefits, but they do so at a primary cost to your health and the quality of your mind/body.

If you want to maximise your life enhancing chances for happiness and joy, you’ll want to look after your health. It’s that simple. If you are addicted to anything that is slowly damaging your mind or body then STOP it. Seek professional help. Do whatever it takes to stop addicting. Your long-term happiness and peace of mind depends on it.

The facts are our friends. I can’t say it any simpler or more bluntly than that. Negative patterns and addictions will damage your mind and body. Think carefully about what your outcomes are for your life and if you decide you want to live a life of happiness and meaning, then work assiduously to stop and remove any negative addictions from your life.

Focus on positive outcomes

Instead, clearly specify the positive outcomes you want in their place. Focus on what you want and not what you don’t want in your life. Remember the power of negation. Focus on positive outcomes. Set health and wellness, and the happiness they support and engender in your life, as high values and priorities. Develop and stick to a good balanced diet. Start exercising. Look after your body. Look after your brain. Keep toxic chemicals and drugs away from your precious cybernetic loop. Make an agreement with yourself to only support positive healthful actions and behaviors in your life.

The great news is, that every time you refuse to do something negative and instead replace it with a positive behavior or thought, it will increase the probability of you doing that positive action again. You can create positive habits and patterns in the same way as any other habit or pattern. By choosing to sow only positive thoughts and actions in your life you will reap a destiny of happiness and meaning.

The thin edge of the wedge

My father taught me many years ago the wisdom of the saying ‘Beware the thin edge of the wedge!’ This thinking tool particularly applies to the issue of habits and patterns and especially the forming of addictions. The way a wedge works is that one end is very pointy and thin. If you are splitting wood for example, a wedge can be easily slipped into the thinnest of cracks. Then slowly but surely the wedge can be driven deeper and eventually, the thick end of the wedge will cause even the strongest of logs to split and fall apart. If you tried to drive the thick end in first of course, you would have great difficulty and it would not work.

It’s the same with behavior and thoughts. The thin edge of the wedge is when you allow yourself or someone else to do or think something that is negative or harmful. “It’s only once” you say. But it’s the thin edge of the wedge. Before long, if you aren’t careful, one drink becomes two, two drinks become four, and then you’re at the thick end of the wedge, addicted to alcohol and destroying your life and happiness. So look for and beware the thin edge of the wedge in your life. It’s vitally important for your life enhancing long-term happiness.

Thinking Tools – Repetition
Repetition leads to repetition. The repetition of a thought or action increases the probability of repetition

Thinking Tools – The Wedge
Beware the thin edge of the wedge!

Create life enhancing patterns in your life

The take home message from today's post is to make sure you are creating life enhancing patterns and behaviors in your life. Sow positive thoughts and reap life enhancing habits. Do this continuously every day, in small and ever increasing ways, and you and those you love will reap the life enhancing rewards of an incredible destiny.

What positive pattern or action could you do right now?

Want to learn more, get a copy of my book: Avoiding the Enemies to HAPPINESS!

life enhancing thoughts,