|Understanding the way we think!|
If you've never really thought about how you think, then read on, because you're about to be empowered. Every experience you have ever had is stored in your mind as a memory, but these memories contain much, much more information than you probably realize. Take any happy experience from your past, go ahead think of one now. Now notice the things you could see, hear and feel at that time (these are called modalities), go ahead and imagine your there again and look around you, notice all the things you can see. Where there other people there? Was the environment light or dark? Were there colours around you? What were you wearing? No without being asked what you were wearing you probably wouldn't realize that that information was part of the memory, but it is. So lets look at the feelings you were experiencing at the time. What was the temperature of the air on your skin? Was it warm, cold or just comfortable? Were you smiling or laughing? Are there any other sensations in your body that you were feeling at that time? What did you feet feel like at the time? Were you wearing shoes or were you barefoot? No turn your attention to the sounds of that experience. Were people talking? Was their music playing? What sounds could your hear during this experience? You can even notice the sounds of yourself saying something to yourself during the experience (don't worry we all talk to ourselves, it's called internal dialog).
So as you can see, there is a lot of information that is stored with each memory and this can be broken down further into into sub-modalities which would include things like direction of sounds or light, intensity or volume and different feeling such as fuzzy, warm, cold, spinning and the direction of any movement associated with feelings. Of course we also have to add our other two senses into the equation too, which includes taste and smell.
Once we understand that our experiences are stored as modalities and sub-modalities, we can then begin to do some interesting things. For example, if you were to think of a not so pleasant memory and wanted to change it, you could simply recall the memory and then change some of the sub-modalities in the experience to reduce the intensity and take away much of the emotional impact of that situation. For example, if you had a time in the past where someone was yelling at you, you can think about that past experience and then play in over and over in your mind while making some changes along the way. Change the person's voice in your imagination so that they sound like Donald Duck. How does that effect the intensity of their voice? What if you imagine that the person who is yelling is wearing a tutu and elf slippers? Can someone wearing that be taken seriously? I seriously doubt it. What if you imagine them being far away, way over in the corner at the other side of the room. How does them being way over there effect the intensity of the memory. Run the memory over and over making all of those changes, now, how does it feel? It feels different doesn't it! This process is called a sub-modality edit and you can do it on any past memory that is not pleasant, although if it's something really intense, I would recommend you find a local NLP Practitioner to help guide you though the process.
You can also take more control of your thoughts by realizing that when people speak to you, you are subconsciously making associations and visualizations in your mind. Many times this happens faster that we are consciously aware of, but, when we pay attention we can start to realize what we are picturing and choose to accept or reject those images and replace them with others. For example, if I say the word "canoe" to you, what picture do you form in your mind? What colour is the canoe you pictured? Did you even realize the canoe had a colour before I mentioned it? Where is the canoe located? Does that canoe hold good memories or bad memories for you? By paying conscious attention to these automatic thought processes, we can begin to take more control of our thought processes and begin steering our mind instead of just letting it go wherever it wants. In NLP refer to this as Who's driving the bus! If you're not driving and steering your own bus, then outside influences and information is! You'll never get to your destination (whatever it is) unless you take the wheel!
Lastly, for this article, I want to mention anchoring. If you hear a song on the radio and feel good or bad, it's because you are associating that song to a past experience at a sub-conscious level. The same can be true for the "look" on a person's face, a certain voice tonality, language pattern or body posture. For example, you may know someone who always says something like "Here's the thing" every time they begin complaining or whining about something, or perhaps your state of mind changes as soon as your partner looks at you a certain way. These are all anchors. If you want to get rid of anchors that don't serve you in a positive way, then you can do so by simply having a really positive experience and then playing that song or doing something to change what would have been a negative experience into a positive one. When we have powerful positive experiences along with the same stimuli that was anchored, those negative anchors are then replaced by positive ones.