Experience What You Want Now
Want to have another simple experience of NLP? Here’s an exercise that will help you shift a current unwanted Present State, and replace it with your Desired State. I’ve used it, for example, quite effectively for insomnia. For this exercise I suggest choosing something simple, concrete, and immediately present. (Let’s hold off working on the perfect partner, 20 pound weight loss, or your dream job for a one-on-one session!).
Give this about five minutes in a quiet environment. Closing your eyes as you imagine some of the states I am going to suggest can be helpful. You may want to read through the instructions one time before starting. You can even use this to make your own recording, and take yourself through the exercise!
1) Find two places on your body that your two hands can easily squeeze at the same time. It may be, as you sit, a spot right above both knees. Sometimes, I like to partially cross my arms, grabbing with my hands the spots right above my elbows, on the inside of my upper arm. (I can do this lying down, working on my insomnia.) Make sure you can do this comfortably, and that you can reliably re-find the spots several times. Sometimes you will squeeze one of these spots at a time, and sometimes they will be squeezed at the same time.*
2) Fully bring to mind and evoke your unwanted Present State. If I were working on my insomnia, I would pay attention to my thoughts, my emotions, and how my body feels. Allow your self with respect and perhaps a little bravery to step into this experience completely, in as much detail as possible.
3) As you reach the fullest experience of this unwanted state, squeeze one of the spots you have already found for yourself. Hold it for a few good long moments, breathing deeply as you do so. Then let go of the spot.
4) At this point, find some way to distract yourself from the state you just evoked so strongly. This is not hard to do. Just take a moment and try to remember what you ate for breakfast that morning, or try and count the leaves on the tree outside your window. Anything like this is pretty effective.
5) Okay, now bring to mind a time when you had an experience like the one you are wanting now. For me, I remember all the times I have been able to fall asleep easily, without effort, immediately. If you don’t have an experience in your memory exactly like the one you are wanting, then find something similar, with the same sort of state you are wanting. For insomnia, I might bring to mind an experience of relaxing on a beach, enjoying a massage, a time when meditation came easily, or maybe the quiet joy of being with good friends. Anything that seems to carry the same emotional effect as your Desired State.
Whatever image you bring to mind, do it fully, noticing the thoughts, emotions, and bodily feelings that go along with that image. When you have reached the fullest experience of that Desired State, squeeze the other spot that you chose in step #1. Do NOT squeeze the spot that you used for the unwanted Present State. Hold it for a few good long moments, breathing deeply as you do so. Then let go of the spot.
6) Distract yourself one more time. Try to remember the last person you talked to on the phone, or name all the colors in the rug in front of you, or anything like that.
7) Now do two tests. First, squeeze the first spot. What do you feel? You probably are feeling some of the Present State that you “anchored” there. (This is no different and no more sophisticated than Pavlov’s experiment associating a bell with a dog salivating. We are also stimulus-response creatures!) After you let go of that spot, do another of your distractions (you know how to do that for yourself, now). When you have fully stepped out of that Present State feeling, then squeeze the second spot, and notice the Desired State feeling that that creates in you. Then, let go, and distract yourself again.
8 ) If it turns out that either of those spots didn’t create a pretty strong feeling response, repeat steps #2-6 as much as necessary to create strong anchors that evoke the associations I’ve described. Good.
9) Now you are ready for the final step. Remember, you need to know which spot is the Desired State anchor, and which is the Present State anchor. Squeeze the Desired State anchor, and while you do that, say to yourself “Take this, into…” and then squeeze the Present State anchor, and finish saying “this.” The full sentence is “Take this into…this.” It is very important that you squeeze the Desired State anchor first, and the Present State anchor second, so that you are taking the Desired State into the Present State.
Hold both of these for several long moments, maybe as long as a minute, perhaps squeezing the Desired State anchor somewhat more strongly that the Present State one. Keep breathing deeply. Notice how both states are there, but the Desired State seems to overlay the Present State one, fill it up, re-create it, re-define it, make it new, allow it to become the Desired State that it truly wants to be…Take one more big breath.
10) When the experience seems complete, let go of both spots, perhaps letting the Present State anchor go a beat before the Desired State one, allowing the Desired State feeling to be the last thing you feel.
If you wish, you can repeat step #9 until the shift in your state seems as strong as you would like it to be.
11) Finally, notice your current state, and how it has shifted through participating in this experience.
Experience what it is like to have someone guide you through changework that is crafted and designed for your specific goals and dreams, and to go more deeply into the meaning of your experience than you thought possible. Contact me for a thirty minute free consultation.
Leslie Nipps, NLP & Change Work Practitioner
Trust as a Way of Life…
* You may be asking “What’s up with the squeezing? It’s a little weird.” These are called “anchors” in NLP, and they make it possible to associate in the brain two things that have been formerly unassociated. You’ll see how that works in a minute.