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by | Nov 15, 2020

How to use NLP to train our brains

Our weekly Team NLP blog where you will find inspiration and actionable advice on how to build healthy habits, resilience, and connections in our unprecedented times.

Last week I missed writing our weekly blog as we completed our first online NLP Practitioner course.  It was the final assessment weekend where we challenged our students to undertake two NLP processes with each other.  And, they had the chance to watch us demonstrate each technique first.  My fellow Director Tracey and I had hoped and planned for a face to face weekend to complete the process, yet it was not to be.  We were challenged to design a different way online which stretched us.  The good news was that it worked perfectly.  It never ceases to amaze me how well we can utilise online platforms like zoom to achieve similar results to being face to face in a hotel.  It’s interesting to consider if we will ever go back to face to face in the way we used to run our courses as it is so much more flexible for students  to work on line and we can also welcome students from all over the world.  We have also been able to significantly reduce our prices by passing on the benefits of not having to pay for hotels! So, for those of you out there wanting to use this lockdown time to develop yourself have a look at the next NLP Practitioner that we start on the 28th November.  The investment in you is £1200 and payment plans are available. 

How are you feeling this week?  We are now 10 days into our second lockdown in England.  I read an interesting article this week from ‘The Conversation’ published by neuroscientists and psychologists back in August.  It talks about the changes to our brains caused by the pandemic and it occurred to me that NLP provides a great toolbox of techniques to overcome some of these. 

We learn that whether you have contracted COVID-19 or not, your brain is likely to have changed over the past few months. The virus itself can cause a number of neurological problems, along with anxiety and depression. The isolation and worry caused by the pandemic can similarly alter our brain chemistry and cause mood disorders.

Those who have had COVID-19 infection can experience mood disorders, common symptoms include fatigue, headaches, memory loss and problems with attention. Research suggests that the virus may gain access to the brain via the forebrain’s olfactory bulb, which is important for the processing of smell. Loss of smell is a symptom in many patients with COVID-19.  These changes in the brain are likely responsible for the mood, fatigue and cognitive changes that are commonly experienced by COVID-19 patients. This in turn may underlie the reported symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression in patients who have contracted the virus.

And it’s not just people who have contracted the COVID-19 virus that have suffered from increased anxiety and depression during the pandemic. Excessive worry over contracting or spreading the virus to other family members, as well as isolation and loneliness, can also change our brain chemistry.  Repeated stress is a major trigger for persistent inflammation in the body, which can also affect the brain and shrink the hippocampus and therefore affect our emotions. Stress can also affect levels of brain serotonin and cortisol, which can affect our mood. Eventually, these changes can cause symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Brain training

We already know that exercise and mindfulness training – techniques that help us stay in the present – are helpful when it comes to combating brain stress.  Indeed, studies have shown beneficial functional and structural changes in the brain’s prefrontal cortex (involved in planning and decision making), hippocampus and amygdala following mindfulness training.

What can we learn from NLP? The NLP frame of Perception is Projection tells us that everything we experience on the outside is a projection of our thoughts on the inside.  So where is your focus?  Challenge yourself to live in the moment with your focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want and keep checking that you are reacting to what you can control not what you cannot.  And keep your breathing under control.  One of the biggest tips we can do in the moment is to ensure we access coherence…. the alignment of the autonomic nervous system.  Breathe in for 6 and out for 6 for a couple of minutes and notice the difference.

Finally, I am repeating what I said last week….My fellow Director in Team NLP, Tracey Gray, posted this picture onto our Team NLP membership Facebook page this week and I thought it was really helpful and even more relevant now with the new lockdown news.  There are definitely things you can choose from each section to boost your happiness without breaking any lockdown rules!  My challenge this week for you is to pick at least one from each list every day and see how you get on.  I have been doing it all week since Tracey posted it and I love it.

Take care and very best wishes from Team NLP

And, for those of you already qualified as NLP Practitioner or Master Practitioners or want to add NLP skills to your coaching tool-kit, we are also launching our fully online accredited NLP Practitioner coaching qualification on the 11th and 18th October for £450 all in.