This is the sixth article in my series about Managing How You Feel.
If you’ve read the articles so far, you may remember that there are many influences on your emotional state, including your physical body, the things that filter your experience, like your beliefs, values and assumptions, and your internal processing, the way you receive and represent information through your senses. As this series is showing, there are many ways of changing what you experience, particularly given your bodymind has to regenerate your emotional state every few minutes.
So, the tips so far have been:
1. Change where you are looking (up to lessen intensity, down to increase it)
3. Use your breathing
4. Pay attention to what you sense right now (what you can see, hear, feel, smell and taste)
5. Recall a memory when you had the emotional state you want now
Today I’m focusing on another internal way of changing your state, by tapping into the wisdom you have, but maybe can't access right now
Tip No 6 – What would x say?
Sometimes we get stuck in our own way of experiencing things. We get hemmed in to thinking our perspective is the only one, and whatever we are thinking right now must be true. Yet a recent study showed that we have around 70,000 thoughts a day, and only 5% of them were about what was happening here and now. Your brain is amazing, generating all that traffic. However, its highly likely that not all of those 70,000 thoughts are valid, or even considered. So how can you broaden your perspective?
In neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), we have a technique called 'accessing internal mentors.' It's a posh way of saying bring to mind what someone you trust or value would have to say.
The way you do this is really simple. When you notice you need more information, that you are getting stuck in a rut of thinking that is not serving you, you:
1. Ask yourself who might have a useful perspective about this. It can be someone you know, a historical figure, someone in public life, a film/TV character, a spiritual guru, a past friend or relative...anyone, so long as they come to mind as having a credible and valuable perspective. You may even pick an animal or something from nature, if you are more metaphorically oriented.
2. Ask yourself what they would say if they were here. If it helps, you can close your eyes and bring them to mind, imagining what they are wearing, how they look, how they hold themselves, where they stand, and then ask yourself, what do they say about my current situation or question?
3. Say the words that come up to yourself, and really take a moment to hear them and notice your response. If your mentor is an animal or something from nature there may be no words, it may be communication of a different nature, if so, go with this too.
You need not only do this once, you could ask a series of figures for their perspectives if you wanted to. The lovely thing about this technique is that it enables you to access your own wisdom, but through the metaphor of other people that you give credibility to. It is much easier to hear a message delivered from someone you consider wise, than to listen to your own advice.
So, channel that inner guru, whoever they may be. From yoda to an ancient oak tree, there are many, many perspectives that can help, its just finding the ones that resonate for you.
For support in tapping into your own deeper wisdom through psychotherapy, get in touch.