I recently discovered that two dear friends have become NLP (neurolinguistic programming) practitioners and thought “What better time than when battling covid fatigue?”
For those of you who may not be familiar with NLP it’s the science of language’s impact on behavior. While I’m not trained in NLP like my friends, I have read books on the subject and do my best to employ its concepts in my everyday life.
In essence, NLP is the language of gain. It teaches us that when we retrain our brains away from the natural tendency to focus on loss and toward a focus on gain, we enjoy healthier, happier experiences. We also remain optimistic about the future…regardless of what we’re currently experiencing.
NLP vs. Covid Fatigue
We are all well aware of what we miss during this covid pandemic. And, as we’ve discussed, it’s our natural tendency to focus on losses. So let’s take a moment to shift our focus to the good things in our life. Covid has:
- Heightened awareness of how important our families and friends are and what makes each person so special.
- Made us grateful that we have the technology, not only to converse with our loved ones, but to actually see them and their beautiful smiles as we share special moments with them.
- Given us more time to explore deeply our partners’ and children’s interests, dreams and goals and, in doing so, enabling us to support them more effectively in achieving what they want in life.
- Made us more aware of the joy of seeing the smiles, and mischief, in others’ eyes as well as their goodness because the eyes are truly the window to the soul.
- Provided time to reflect on what’s important to us. Time to consider where we’d like our careers, our future, to go. Time to explore things that have long interested us. And a promise to ourselves to not let things get so hectic in the future.
- Given us a revitalized appreciation for nature and its ability to bring us peace, excitement and joy all at the same time.
- Helped us enjoy the healthier lifestyle that being in nature affords. As we get more exercise, especially in brisk air, our appetite for healthier foods increase. We also have developed the habit of washing hands more frequently…a practice which has helped keep my wife and I free of flu for more than 2 decades.
- Made us aware of how we have paid too much attention to things of little importance and how we can avoid doing so in the future.
- Spawned greater creativity. Nothing stimulates creativity quite like disruption. As we create new ways of doing things in a new environment, we gain greater appreciation of our ability to learn and adapt which boosts confidence in our abilities and our optimism for the future.
- Reminded us of Americans’ natural generosity as we see citizens providing meals for front-line workers, donating to food banks for their neighbors, tipping the amount of their bill or more, donating their stimulus checks to the less fortunate and many, many more acts of kindness and generosity in support of our fellow human beings.
I’m certain there are more, but this should be a sufficient number to get you thinking about what you’ve gained from the challenges covid has presented.
Developing NLP mindset
Now that we have some examples of what NLP can do for us during this pandemic, let’s see how you can develop an NLP mindset…how to form the habit of focusing on gains instead of losses.
If you make the following process a daily habit, you’ll find that NLP thinking becomes your automatic way of thinking. You’ll no longer have to devote conscious effort to this new way of thinking. It’ll be your default position. Here’s the process.
- Each morning shortly after you rise, remind yourself that you’re going to use the language of gain instead of the language of loss. Then review all the things for which you are grateful.
- During the day, as your subconscious mind reminds you that you just used loss language, restate what you just said in gain language.
- At the end of the day, revisit the instances when you used the language of gain or caught yourself using loss language and changed that language to gain. Savor your successes.
Beginning each day with a reminder that you want to use gain language assigns the task of paying attention to the language you use to your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind is an assistant designed to carry out your instructions. When you instruct it to use the language of gain, it’ll pay attention to what you’re saying. When it’s not gain language, the subconscious will remind you of the instruction you gave it which enables you to restate what you just said.
Don’t be afraid that restating what you just said will make you look inept. People appreciate the fact that you’re taking a more positive approach to the situation. If you doubt that, recall your reaction to people with a positive outlook on life versus your reaction to those whose aren’t.
Finally, celebrate your successes. Another natural tendency most of us possess is that we look at the instances where we failed and bemoan our failures. This tendency leaves us with feelings of disappointment and frustration…negative impressions of ourselves. But when we focus on our successes we had during the day, we encourage ourselves to greater heights, to greater consistency in our use of NLP’s language of gain. We build on success, not on missteps.
Remember, no one bats a thousand. I’ve been employing the benefits of my form of NLP for a few decades. I still occasionally have to restate what I said because my initial language wasn’t the language of gain. I don’t get down on myself for having to do so. We, as human beings, will never be perfect. It’s fine to seek perfection. It helps us become better and better at whatever we choose to do. Just don’t let the occasional misstep diminish your self-worth or deter you from striving to improve. These are healthy pursuits…as long as we realize that perfection is unattainable.
During this time, when we’re all experiencing covid fatigue, pause and think of the things you’re gaining from the covid crisis.
As covid challenges present themselves, look for creative ways to deal with them. Ask your subconscious mind “How can I deal with…?” Your subconscious mind is millions of times more powerful than your conscious mind. Put it to work for you to get quick, simple yet pragmatic solutions.
Focus on helping those less fortunate. Nothing makes us realize how blessed we are than helping others through the challenges they face. Just make sure you’re doing it as safely as possible.
Employ the process described above and you’ll find that you’ll not only see more opportunities for gain than you did previously, you’ll take advantage of them. The more positive things you see in life the less likely you’ll be plagued by covid fatigue or any challenging situation.
For our kids
Get some books from the library on NLP and read them with, or to, your kids. Don’t worry that they’re too young to understand. You’ll know how to frame what was said in examples they’ll understand. By sharing this experience, you’ll find that not only are your and your kids’ minds more focused on gain, you’ll enjoy a stronger bond with your kids. Enjoy!
I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, please share your wisdom in a comment.
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