Did you know that 1 in 5 people have mental health issues? It’s an illness where people often suffer in silence because you can’t see it, not like a physical ailment.
The majority of people think that there is nothing that they can do about it. But there are things that you can do to help alleviate the severity of the illness. This article will list 4 techniques for dealing with anxiety and depression.
How Do We Have Negative Emotions?
How do we have negative emotions? You can get into overwhelm very quickly. You might think that you have always felt this way and there is no way out. But I’m going to tell you there is a way out. You just have to understand the strategy of how you get yourself into overwhelm.
Firstly, you think a thought which triggers an emotion. But you’re probably thinking, ‘But I never have a thought. I’m always anxious (or depressed)’. You do. Sometimes the thought is so quick that you hardly notice it. If you consciously think of your anxiety or depression and go into slow motion, there is a thought. That thought might be I’m not good enough, I’m hopeless, I’m worthless. And it triggers your depression or anxiety.
Then the emotion causes you to do something which produces an outcome. If that outcome is negative it reinforces the negative emotion and then you go into the spiral again. And you can go round and round until you go into a negative spiral into depression and anxiety.
This negative thought to negative emotion can cause a super highway in your brain. So that every time you think the thought you automatically go to anxiety or depression.
You need to break the super highway to stop the emotion.
What Is the Way Out of Negative Spirals?
The way you get out of the negative spiral is to change your thoughts or beliefs. Attack anxiety and depression at the source. Once you break the loop of the negative spiral you will be able to get out.
You can change the super highway in your brain. The fastest and most effective ways of creating a new super highway is using Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
What is NLP?
NLP is about how we communicate with ourselves and how we communicate with other people. It uses language and linguistics to change the way that we think about ourselves and how we think of situations.
The brain is complex and the unconscious mind can absorb millions of bits of information. The conscious mind however can only take in 136 bits of information. What does it do with the rest of the information? It does things like distort information, delete information and generalise information. It does this based on the perceptions and beliefs that you have about yourself and about the world.
NLP can change your perceptions and beliefs so that you have a new reality of the world.
How Can NLP Be Used to Help With Anxiety and Depression?
NLP can hep with anxiety and depression because it can change the beliefs that are underpinning your thoughts that trigger anxiety and depression.
If your belief about yourself is that you are not good enough, NLP changes the thought to you are good enough. If you have anxiety, it can change the anxiety to calm, or any other positive emotion. It changes the old super highway in your brain, the one that has been reinforced to anxiety or depression and creates a new super highway that goes to a positive emotion instead.
The thoughts are also dependant on how you store them in the brain.
How Are Memories Stored in the Brain?
Memories are stored in the brain visually, auditory, or kinaesthetically (internal representational systems). So when you have a negative thought you will have an image in your head. If you take the time, you probably can hear something like someone’s voice and you might have a feeling about the situation.
Similar memories are stored in the same way. So if you were to look at all the memories of when you ‘weren’t good enough’, the qualities of the memory, like it’s brightness and contrast are the same.
You can change your memories and the way you feel about yourself by changing the qualities of the memory.
The brain also has associations with the internal representational systems. They are triggers that produce an emotional response.
What Is An Anchor?
An anchor is a trigger followed by an emotional response.
Say you are at your wedding and you have your wedding dance. You would have extremely high positive emotions of love. Now after the wedding, every time you hear it on the radio or on itunes you have that same feeling of love. That is an anchor.
You can have many types of anchors based on the internal representational systems. That is you can have a visual anchor, an auditory anchor and a physical anchor. And by using anchors you can change your emotions.
NLP Techniques for dealing with anxiety and depression
NLP Technique 1 – Resource anchor
The resource anchor is a technique that puts a physical anchor on your hand. This is great if you’re feeling low and need a burst of positive feelings.
It requires you to think of three positive emotions. They could be confidence, motivation and strength.
Close your eyes. For the first positive emotion, think of a time that you experienced that emotion. If you can’t think of one, imagine being a person that experiences that emotion. See the picture. How bright is it? What is the contrast? Is the image near or far? Can you hear anything? What do you feel? Really experience being in that moment and ramp up the emotion. See what you saw, hear what you heard and really feel that emotion. When that emotion is at it’s height, squeeze your hand firmly in the section between your thumb and your index finger for 5 seconds.
Open your eyes and clear the screen.
Repeat for the other two emotions.
Now test the anchor. Press down on the area between the thumb and index finger and you should feel the positive emotions.
Now every time you are low and need a pick me up, press the anchor.
The anchor can run out so to keep it topped up by pressing the anchor every time you feel a positive emotion.
NLP Technique 2 – Circle of Excellence
This technique utilises a visual anchor. It is similar to the resource anchor but instead of pressing your hand, you are going to imagine a ring on the ground, large enough that you can stand in and step into it.
The circle of excellence is good for transforming a negative emotion into a positive one.
Next, you’re going to think of 3 positive emotions that you want to have. Think of the first positive emotion that you want to have instead. Close your eyes and think of a time that you experienced that emotion. If you can’t think of a time then imagine being a person that has that emotion. Live in that memory and really feel that emotion. Ramp the feeling up. Once the emotion is the best that it can be, step into the ring. Wait 5 seconds then step out of the ring leaving the emotion in the ring.
Repeat for the other two emotions.
Now, find a negative. Feel that feeling of the negative emotion. Now step into the ring and feel the negative emotion change to a positive one.
NLP Technique 3 – Auditory Swish
When you are suffering from anxiety or depression, you will have negative thoughts that you tell yourself. Things like, ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’m worthless’, ‘I’m hopeless’, ‘I can’t get anything right’.
You can hear them in your head, whether it’s the voice of your coach telling you that you’re not good enough, or a parent or the self-talk that you’ve been telling yourself for years
In the auditory swish you are going to change what you hear in your head.
Firstly, hear a negative thought. Where can you hear it? Is it coming from the left side of the head or the right side? Or is it deep inside?
Next hear the negative thought again but turn the volume down really low so that you can hardly hear it.
Now visualise your future self that has the new belief in front of you. Hear them speak the new positive thought. So you might have thought that you weren’t good enough. Hear your future self say, ‘I am good enough’.
Hear the sound of your future self’s voice ringing around your head, like someone has chimed a bell around your head.
After a few seconds, stop hearing both the positive thought and negative thought and hear the sound of the ocean instead (it’s very important to stop hearing the positive and negative thoughts).
Repeat by turning the volume down on your negative thought, and hearing your positive thoughts in your ears followed by waves, over and over again until you can’t hear the negative thought any longer.
This technique might take up to 10-15 minutes to complete
NLP technique 4 – Strengthening Self-Concept
Once you have your new thought in place by doing the auditory swish, next you want to strengthen it by strengthening your self-concept. You are going to change the way your brain stores the memories of these new positive thoughts.
Firstly, you need to think of something that is true about you. Maybe you’re good at getting jobs. Or maybe you’re smart. Close your eyes. What is the image that you get when you think of that thing that is true about you? How bright is it? What’s the contrast like? What can you hear? What can you feel. Is the picture framed or not? How near or far is the image? Remember these details.
Next you want to get memories of you with your new positive thought. Say your new positive thought is that people like you. Go into your memory and pick one out where people liked you. Now you want to change the qualities of this picture to the one you know is true. So make the contrast the same, make the brightness the same, hear the same thing, feel the same thing, make the distance of the image the same.
Then go back through all your memories of the same positive thought and make the qualities of them the same as the one you know to be true.
These techniques should help you in some way to ease your anxiety and depression. But as anxiety and depression can be complex it takes time to reduce the severity of them. So take the time to use these techniques as much as possible to get the most benefit out of them.
Kristin is a NLP Practitioner and Health Coach helping people with mood and mental health. She has bipolar disorder. In the past she had an attempted suicide and two nervous breakdowns. But through technques to improve mood and control emotions she hasn’t had any symptoms of mental illness for 10 years. Now she teaches her method to other people so they can also get over overwhelm.
To work with her click here
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