7 Best NLP Techniques To Change Your Life and Realize Your Potential
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a modeling approach that offers a toolkit of ways to deal with life’s opportunities and challenges. It is a very practical discipline, concerned with bringing results into the real world. And today I’m willing to share with you my seven best NLP techniques to change your life and realize your highest potential.
To put it another way, NLP is an approach for deep inner engineering.
NLP is a powerful approach to communication and personal development that empowers people to have greater control over their emotional state. NLP fundamental skills and tools give you the ability to be at your best more often by effectively managing your thoughts and feelings.
In essence, NLP is primarily about the combinations and understanding of human behaviors in language and how it all influences one’s effectiveness in communication.
Think of NLP as your brain’s user manual. With more people diving into the NLP world, trying to understand the mind — conscious and unconscious minds, there have developed a number of NLP techniques. These techniques hold immense power that could change how you experience the world altogether.
These NLP techniques can be powerfully effective in changing how you experience the world.
Since our thoughts and feelings shape our reality, this means that these NLP techniques can actually transform your entire life. Using NLP techniques can help you develop in areas of your life and contribute to improving your personal performance and understanding of how people function.
To create change, you need to change the way you think. With neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), you can rewire your thoughts and behavior.
In this article I have listed seven of many powerful NLP techniques that I have used to change my behavior and transform my life. Using them will help you achieve better results, attract more positive experiences in your life and realize your highest potential! Here are seven of the most impactful NLP techniques when it comes to changing your behavior and helping you manifest a better future.
NLP Technique #1: Anchoring
Anchoring originates with Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov who experimented with dogs by ringing a bell repeatedly while the dogs were eating. After repeated rings of the bell, he found he could get the dogs to salivate by ringing the bell anytime, even if there was no food present.
Anchoring is one of the most common NLP techniques.
The goal of this method is to elicit positive responses at will by associating a particular mental and emotional state to an anchor. This anchor is set by you and can be an image, a word or a gesture. Anchoring improves our ability to control emotions and to take an active role in self-management. It enables us to be less prone to feeling powerless and overwhelmed.
Anchoring is based on the psychological concept of conditioning, whereby a stimulus triggers certain responses.
Anchoring helps you elicit the response you want through repetition. It benefits you by putting you in charge of your emotions. For example, if you wanted to pull the emotion happiness, you would start by thinking about times you were euphoric. You want to tell the story of what happened that led up to this moment in your head. Think of how it felt and go into a lot of detail. Recall the moment and the feelings.
When you self-anchor, you create a reminder in your nervous system, that says when I do this, do that.
It allows you to evoke a desired resource state on cue. To teach your brain to chunk ‘this’ signal with ‘that’ response. Self-anchoring gives you the chance to quickly train and retrain your mind-body to start doing more of the states you want. To access more of the resources you want.
The purpose of anchoring is to associate a positive memory with a deliberate gesture.
By making these associations, your brain will be able to make the connection between this positive memory and a particular gesture. As such, you will be able to elicit a positive emotional response simply through your actions. In turn, you are able to activate this anchor any time you are feeling low or stressed and in doing so, you can return to a state of happiness.
Repetition is everything. The more you practice this technique, the more they will become ingrained in your mind.
When you think, feel, visualize and act in accordance with your intention you will break the cycle of negative habits. Each time you make a new choice that is in alignment with your future, you are priming your brain to install the neurological hardware to actually think, act, and feel like the person you want to be in your future.
NLP Technique #2: Reframing
If you find yourself in a situation that causes fear, anger or discouragement, this technique will help you change the meaning of the situation. It will enable you to think about it in a more empowering and resourceful way. In a nutshell, it will allow you to place the content of the situation into another frame.
Everything is surrounded by the meaning we give it.
As human beings we attribute meaning to everything that we encounter and experience in life. It’s how we make sense of the world around us. Our experiences don’t necessarily have any meaning whatsoever, the meaning they have is what we give them. It’s natural to panic when you lose a job or break up, but this only creates more emotional turmoil. By shifting your focus and changing your perspective, you will be feel more at peace.
This technique is all about perspective and it allows you to see the opportunities in hardship, opposed to dwelling on barriers or the negatives.
For example, let’s imagine your relationship has recently ended. Initially and on the surface, this will feel awful, however, let’s try reframing it. You can do this by asking: what are the possible benefits of being single? One could be that you are now available to meet new people or are open to other potential relationships. Another is that you now have the freedom to do what you want to do on your own schedule.
Try this technique when you feel that a situation is negative or helpless.
Reframing will take any negative situation and empower you by changing the meaning of the experience into something positive. In expected situations, it’s natural to panic or focus on fear, but this just leads to more problems. In contrast, shifting your focus in the way just described helps you to clear your head and make responsible, even-handed decisions.
Framing forces you to detach emotions from memories as it dampened the associated emotions.
If you had a bad interview in the past, recall this interview but in a 3rd person perspective. See yourself as you were in the interview, but don’t let that memory stick. Now, make your image in the memory blurry by stepping away from the memory’s setting. Now that you have that blurry image of the memory frame it and hang it on a wall in a gallery of a choosing. Doing this to your memory and even picturing a framed image of the blurry image dampens your feelings about the memory. Repeating this process reduces the effects of the memory further because you force your mind to treat that memory as a picture.
Changing the frame of an experience can have a major influence on how you perceive, interpret and react to that experience.
Being told that you have one hour to complete a task will most likely result in a different emotional state, approach and quality of work than if you are told that you have one week to accomplish the same task. This illustrates how a change in frame can have a significant impact on the choices you make. The purpose of reframing is to help a person experience their actions, the impact of their beliefs, etc. from a different perspective (frame) and potentially be more resourceful or have more choice in how they react.
NLP Technique #3: Meta-modeling
The meta model NLP technique is used to help you understand other people’s problems. It can also be used to help you help others understand their problems better. The goal is to deconstruct the conversation, to help you find the cause of the problem, as well as a solution to that problem.
By far, meta-modeling is one of the most powerful NLP techniques.
It gives you the ability to help identify self-imposed constraints that may be preventing you from finding happiness and questioning them. Identify which category your thoughts belong to, then start the exploratory process of questioning the negative thought pattern. For example, if you catch yourself in a deletion like “people don’t find me attractive”, meta-modeling questions to ask would be, “which people specifically?” and “how exactly do you know that?”.
The meta-model in NLP is a set of questions designed to specify information, challenge and expand the limits to a person’s model of the world.
It responds to the distortions, generalizations, and deletions in the speaker’s language. The meta model draws on transformational grammar and general semantics, the idea that language is a translation of mental states into words, and that in this translation, there is an unconscious process of deletion (not everything thought is said), distortion (assumptions and structural inaccuracies) and generalization (a shift towards absolute statements). Likewise in hearing, not everything said is acknowledged as heard.
Meta-modeling can prompt you to challenge negative language and unhelpful beliefs, so you can live a happier and more successful life.
The chances are that by questioning the language and limiting beliefs to be more specific you will prompt your brain to think more logically about the situation and, in turn, begin to understand that these are ingrained responses that can be altered. More often than not, when you have a problem, subconsciously the answer is known, but often, the obvious solution is something you don’t like. This lack of uncertainty causes the problem to continue, in hopes that a new solution will eventually come up. By deconstructing the way someone words their problem, you can find a solution.
Meta-modeling works because it forces you to challenge ingrained response patterns that can evolve into what psychologists call excessive avoidance behavior.
This is unhelpful because it limits your ability to learn from new experiences. The effectiveness of this technique is also linked to pattern separation. When faced with a new situation, we tend to compare with previous ones, but if pattern separation is active, you will understand that different scenarios require different responses.
The NLP Meta Model a system for asking purposeful questions that will quickly get you to the heart of any situation.
Clarity and transparency are one of the most important things in life. If you master this technique, you can solve everything or you can decide that something cannot be solved and that you don’t have to spend time on it. Train this every day. With everything you think, with every question and with everything that comes to mind.
NLP Technique #4: Dissociation
Dissociation helps to identify the main emotion which are stressing you out, then looking as an observer from outside at the whole situation playing itself out, and playing it backwards repeatedly until you get what and why was something bugging you. Going through it backwards continuously brings catharsis (change).
Have you ever been in a situation that gave you a bad feeling? Maybe you have experienced something that gets you down every time you experience it.
Or perhaps you get nervous in certain work situations where you have to speak publicly. Maybe you get shy when you want to approach that “special someone” you’ve had your eye on. While these feelings of sadness, nervousness or shyness seem to be automatic or unstoppable, NLP techniques of dissociation can help immensely.
Sometimes you tend to react to something in a negative way which causes stress, depression or other negative emotions.
For example, the behavior of your partner drives you crazy or you get angry when someone says some particular word. This NLP technique will help you neutralize negative emotions that get triggered by such situations. This NLP technique even cures phobias because it lets the person see the situation as an observer and that allows him/her to objectively assess it. Then the person sees how he/she over exaggerated the situation and stops overreacting in the future.
Dissociating from unpleasant memories or experiences is very useful.
How do you motivate yourself to do an unpleasant or time-consuming task? See yourself doing the steps of the task and associate to the end result. Focus on the good feelings of having done the task. Sadly, many people do the exact opposite. They re-experience unpleasant memories and events in an associated way with all the yucky feelings.
Generally, the more a person talks about an experience, the more they will associate into it.
This is useful when you are eliciting resource states — not so useful with unpleasant experiences, as strong negative emotions can shut down thinking processes. When someone is associated into an internal representation (their viewpoint is located within the representation), they will have access to the feelings in that experience.
Have you ever been in a situation that gives you sweaty palms, bad shivers?
NLP Technique #5: Rapport Building
When we act as a leader, this is important to build the trust and intimacy that is required to hold open communication. This NLP technique is useful to open up communication, create a safe space, and bring credibility to our face-to-face conversations with our people.
The ability to build rapport with people around you is an impactful way to make a real difference both personally and professionally.
NLP techniques, such as mirroring is a simple, yet effective way to connect and communicate. This technique involves subtly mirroring another person’s body language, a tone of voice and language choices. If, for example, you are talking with someone who is using a casual tone of voice, is sitting down and has an open stance, mirroring this person’s language and behavior will keep the tone they have set. Whereas if you chose to address them formally, with your arms crossed and refuse to sit, but instead stand, the tone of your conversation will dramatically shift and in turn, this person will feel uncomfortable.
Building rapport is mostly finding a common ground with other people.
It often starts with something as simple as mirroring the other person’s actions, then agreeing to the person’s interests etc. And, of course, listening intently to whatever the person has to say, repeating last words, nodding, making constant eye contact, nodding etc.
Rapport is a very important and quite easy skill to master that enables you to get along with any kind of person.
There are many ways to create rapport with people. You can follow the breathing patterns of a person, or you can use similar words that the other person uses. You can also assess the person’s main sensory perception, be it visual, kinesthetic or auditory and then use the same perception yourself. You can do that by simply talking to the person and paying attention to what kind of words the person uses.
Rapport means speaking to people on their level and using their language to convince them of ideas they would not have understood had they been presented in another form.
Rapport is the ability to enter the world of others and to build a bridge to them. It is the art of getting the support and collaboration of others in order to achieve a common goal. Rapport is a relationship marked by agreement, same direction or similarity. If there is rapport, resistance will disappear. Rapport means establishing a deep contact to the unconscious of the other person. We say things like: “We were on the same wavelength.”
It is a known fact that when people are like each other then they like each other. It is a process of responsiveness, it is a process of communication where we find common ground.
In NLP rapport is more like unconsciously seeking common ground. Its when, for example you match and mirror someone then you are doing it out of their awareness in order to establish that common ground. Where the unconscious mind can look across at you and say, “ah yes, that person is just like me.”
NLP Technique #6: Belief Change
We often hear stories as we grow up. These stories may revolve around self or the world. An individual may grow up listening to these stories and form beliefs about themselves. The problem occurs when these beliefs are negative and act as a roadblock to success.
NLP addresses our limiting beliefs to make an individual aware of what affects their thinking, behavior, and actions.
To change your limiting beliefs, get facts, positive facts about the situation, and compare them with the existing negative thoughts. Or, find a totally opposite belief than your existing limiting belief, and live the new belief for five minutes. It is like meditation. NLP says doing this for 30 days straight will help change our mindset.
There are three types of limiting beliefs: Beliefs about cause, beliefs about meaning and beliefs about identity.
Beliefs form because of the “facts” that you encounter relating to some experience. If you’ve had some negative experience and you dwelled on it, you would then start attracting more similar experiences that would reaffirm your “rightness” about the situation. If you could straight away do a content reframe, you will not have formed the belief in the first place. But what most people do is keep dwelling on the bad stuff that happened to them and then they are surprised when they keep encountering similar situations.
To change such limiting beliefs you will need to gather more positive facts about the situation than your current negative facts.
Then you will need to deal with negative facts and question if they really are “facts”. Another way to eliminate negative beliefs is to spend five minutes a day affirming a completely different belief to your current one. You should have no other thoughts or mental pictures in your head when you affirm your new belief. You should completely focus on your words and understand their meaning, rather than thinking about something else whilst affirming beliefs.
Never underestimate the power of your own mind. We don’t know precisely how it works or what is its capacity.
What is plain is that its potential is far greater than we can possibly realize. Nothing that humans have achieved was created without first thinking about it. Imagine what you want to create and think about it. When you get an idea act upon it. Your beliefs are paramount. If you believe you can do something, it is a very good start.
The first step toward eliminating a problem is identifying it.
So, begin by doing a thorough and honest analysis of thoughts and beliefs, and list down any that you believe hold you back in some way. Write these down on a piece of paper and look at them intently. While you do this, stay aware of the emotions that each of these beliefs invokes in your mind. Acknowledge the negativity or cynicism you feel in that moment and identify it as a target you want to flush out of your life.
NLP Technique #7: Visualization
Did you know that your brain can’t tell the difference between something imaginary and something real? In other words, if your imagination is vivid enough, you can trick your brain into experiencing the positive emotions that go along with a positive memory or mental image.
How can you tap into the power of visualization and enjoy all its benefits?
Generally speaking, you need to imagine the specific situation in as many details as possible using all your senses – you can see it, smell it, hear it, feel it and taste it. For many people, it helps when they close their eyes, and then there are others who prefer to write it all down instead of doing it purely in their mind.
Visualization is a NLP technique that uses the imagination to help turn dreams and goals into reality.
Used properly, visualization can improve your life and attract success and prosperity. The truth is that you use your imagination all the time — you think constantly. The challenge is that most people have learned to use their imaginations to terrorize themselves by thinking about all the horrible things that could possibly wrong. But when you use your imagination in a creative, intelligent way, you can create a reality that’s based on what you’d truly love in your life.
The rule is simple: whatever you can conceive, you can achieve.
Everything that was ever created or achieved first started as an idea in someone’s mind. Usually in response to some need or some desire, an idea took hold and the person began focusing mental energy on it. The idea built on itself as the mental energy became infused with emotions. This created a massive desire and the person’s mind went into overdrive looking for ways to marry the vision with physical reality.
Creative visualization uses the powers of the mind and thoughts, and it is the power behind every success.
The subconscious mind accepts the thoughts and mental images that you often repeat in your mind. This mental rehearsal changes your mindset accordingly, as well as your habits and actions. These repeated thoughts and mental images attract, and bring you into contact with people, situations and circumstances that tend to transform what you thought and visualized into reality.
All top performers, regardless of profession, know the importance of picturing themselves succeeding in their minds before they actually do in reality.
The truth is, if you can’t picture yourself achieving a goal, chances are you won’t. The more vivid you can get, the better it will work for you. Get as detailed as possible. Picture what you will do once your goal is reached. How amazing does it feel? How will this change the course of your life? Remember, the little details increase the likelihood of the big picture.
By mastering NLP, you can change the way you think, view the past, and approach your life with a different mindset. It can help strengthen your communication abilities and improve your emotional intelligence. It’s a way to control your mind which helps you better control your life.
Let’s face it: Change is hard. Why do so many of us struggle to go from intention to action?
Neuro-linguistic programming can help you tap into the resources and skills needed to you train your brain and take control of thoughts and beliefs, facilitating the achievement of a fulfilling life. Anchoring, reframing, meta-modeling are few NLP techniques for happiness and personal empowerment that are worth putting in practice.
The most difficult activity in life is implementing change, people run away and look for various unrealistic reasons.
NLP techniques helps us in not only implementing and enabling change but also identifying the areas of change for the better life. When these NLP techniques are practiced correctly, they can promote change in many areas of your life. If you feel the technique isn’t producing the desired effect, keep practicing it until you experience the desired effect.
With NLP, you won’t need a shrink to help you overcome run-of-the-mill trauma, a coach to get you ‘motivated’ or a guru to tell you how to live your life.
You’ll be able to set your own sails. Row when you have to… or fly to wherever you’d like to go. Be who you want to be and as with all of the techniques in NLP, have much more choice about how you experience this wonderful, sometimes mind boggling experience we all call ‘being alive’.
So, are you ready to awaken the giant within and begin your NLP journey?
The art and psychology of NLP give you greater control over your ability to be at your best more often. It allows you to communicate more effectively and have greater control over your emotional state. In turn, you are able to feel, think and be happier every day. What are some techniques you use to feel happier? Tell me in the comments below.