Seeing red, feeling blue or green with envy…
States of Mind
A state of mind is the way that a person is being at any moment in time. It is the total experience that they are having because of their mental process and would include feelings, emotions, thoughts and physiology. Different states of mind can vary considerably in terms of intensity, how long they last and how often they appear in an individual. They include things like:
Depression and more...
Some states we like, such as love, joy and pleasure whereas others we would rather avoid, like fear, guilt and anger. Our moods, or states, can change from day to day, even hour to hour, for it is as if they are at the mercy of some unseen and yet compelling force which guides and directs them like the conductor of an orchestra. There are many reasons for the appearance and cause of our varying states of mind, something you will learn more of as you progress through this book. What is important about them, as with all aspects of NLP is that they have a structure and there is a reason for their existence, regardless of their diversity and occasional undesired outburst.
By understanding the causes and structure of our experiences we can learn how to control or direct our states of mind and body. More to the point, we can be consciously and purposefully selective about which states we want to move into and which ones we want to avoid.
I believe that experiencing enjoyable and fulfilling states is the ultimate desire of all human beings, simply because they are emotion junkies and would prefer to feel happy most of the time. The challenge lies in their realising it and learning how to direct their states at will because for the most part our states are directed by others and or outside factors. This can only be achieved by going inside ourselves not outside (to the outside world). Let me explain:
I don’t actually believe that anyone really wants anything that they strive to achieve in their lives, like money, cars, houses, holidays, art, club membership, watches, gadgets etc. What I think that they really want are the feelings that they think they will get, experience, or satisfy the need for when they have those things. Human beings are emotion junkies and as such they spend their entire lives searching for feelings, either by trying to gain pleasure or in avoiding pain. But why have the highs and the lows some of the time and the ‘in between’ feelings for most of the time when you can direct your mind to feeling great for most of the time? The only answers that I can come up with are masochism or not knowing how to direct one’s state.
But how, if we have unintentionally fallen prey to all of this conditioning, programming and external influence like other people’s beliefs, opinions and meanings to events, can we change our state consciously? Is it really that simple?
Change Your State In An Instant
When you are in a certain state, your mind is running a program that plays that state. It runs a series of mental associations in a pattern or sequence. These patterns or sequences have literally been learned by you and, whenever they are repeated, reproduce the experience of being in a particular state. The process is just like counting from 1 to 10, it follows an ordered sequence from a starting point (1) to reach its conclusion (10).
Let’s say you were counting aloud from 1 to 10. Just as you get to 5 the telephone rings, or someone knocks on your door. What would you do? Would you think to yourself "no, I am counting up to ten and they can wait until I have finished," or would you simply stop counting, answer the telephone or open the door? It would all probably depend upon how important counting to 10 was to you wouldn’t it?
Let’s assume that you stop counting and respond to the interruption. Having dealt with it, maybe some ten minutes or so later, you return to what you were doing. To continue where you left off would you simply, without thinking, say 6, 7, 8, 9, 10… or would you have to remind yourself of what you were doing and where you had got to? Probably the latter because the interruption would have temporarily distracted you and made you forget momentarily what you were doing. But what if the interruptions kept happening, each time requiring more and more of your time and taking you further and further away from what you were doing? Would you eventually forget about counting from 1 to 10 or maybe just give up on the idea anyway? It’s highly likely. And even if counting from 1 to 10 was the most important thing when you started, you would probably put it off and decide to go back to doing it another day. Wow what a process!
States are just like this. By interrupting a state (through distraction of some kind) it is halted and changed immediately. If the process is interrupted strongly, or often enough, then it changes permanently.
I first noticed this process some 40 years ago, at just 10 years of age. When my dog was doing something undesirable, or she wouldn’t give me back the ball that she had just fetched, all I had to do was to distract her sufficiently and strongly enough and she would stop and do something else, dropping the ball in the process. By giving her an immediate and positive experience, like praise or a biscuit for example, she would forget what she had been doing and seek more praise by repeating what made her feel pleasure - what she was doing when I praised her. This resulted, after some repetition, in her bringing the ball to me and dropping it at my lap from then on.
Some years later, I used the technique to great effect when my daughter (only two years old at the time) became tetchy and irritable. All I had to do was to pick her up, walk over to the window, tap on it and pretend to talk to an imaginary bird in the garden, and she would immediately become calm, watching everything that was happening with intent interest. When I put her down, some moments later, she had forgotten about her earlier state and remained calm.
Even before I knew about NLP I could appreciate the benefits of this technique, as I am sure you have, and I have used it many times over the years, both on myself, and on other people when they have been in a bad mood, felt depressed, sad or unable to consciously change un-resourceful feelings and emotions.
When combined with the effective use of anchoring techniques this process can produce some amazingly empowering transformations in state. It also produces highly desirable outcomes in behaviour and can be used to increase levels of personal and professional achievement.
State is the key factor in human achievement and, whilst emotion is an important aspect of human experience, I would suggest that it is only empowering emotions and responses that really serve our growth and purpose in this life.
Remember that you are often the condition to which others respond and by becoming an effective state changer you can make their experience of you and their internal map of their world so much more exciting, satisfying and rewarding.
Remember the law of cause and effect and how you can be as much a part of the problem as you can be the solution to other people’s life challenges.
NLP is the science of excellence that provides an amazing range of sensory-based tools that can help almost anyone to transform their thinking and their way of perceiving themselves and the world around them. You can find out more and develop some of those skills at http://NLP4dummies.com. You will find a range of opportunities including FREE mini-courses and NLP resources that work in the real world.
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