Small Changes in your thinking that make a Big Difference

It's not all about having a 'lightbulb' moment. When it comes to improving how you feel and behave, the small changes you make can have a huge impact.

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When people come on our certification courses in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) they are always blown away by the power of the interventions to change behaviours, how we feel and how we behave. It’s easy to love the big powerful stuff, but the small changes you can make in our thinking are very worthy of our love and attention. How we think influences how we feel about life, react to others, store our memories and make our decisions, so surely something so important is worth working on? The thing is that in our natural human development our thinking develops accidentally, some of it serves us well, and some of it doesn’t. The key is to use more of what works and less of what doesn’t work. Here are some top tips to try out:

Identify your negative thinking triggers. What sends your thinking into a spiral of negativity? Does seeing your friends going on great nights out on Facebook make you feel inadequate? Or perhaps you have some people in your life who are negative and that brings you down. It could even be the news on the TV before bedtime that send you to bed feeling unsettled or bad. Once you know your triggers you can avoid them or cut down on them.

If something bad happens during the day, talk it though with someone before going to bed. When we sleep our brains lay down memories so if we go to sleep still disturbed by someone’s criticism or the little mishap we had our minds code it in as ‘very bad’ which makes it more likely to haunt us in the future. Debriefing it with someone can help us make more sense of it and code it more appropriately.

Distraction. If it often easier to do something new than to stop doing something, so if you feel your mind getting drawn into unhelpful thinking patterns, distract it by focusing on something else, singing a song or making a cup of tea. This interrupts your mind’s learned thinking patterns which, over time, will generate a new more supportive habit.

Create a more helpful way of tell yourself off when you’ve made a mistake or got something wrong. Beating yourself up only makes you feel bad. Making mistakes is one of your most important learning opportunities, but learning doesn’t come from bad feelings. Make up some appropriate comments to say to yourself. Examples people have come up with are ‘Great one’, ‘Fantastic’ or ‘Genius’ - all said with a hint of sarcasm. Or you could try little phrases like ‘well that wasn’t great’ or even make up your own meaningless phrase.

When it comes to your thinking habits, the language and tone of voice you use in your internal speech is critical. We hope these tips have been useful, find more free resources on our website

Karen Meager

UKCP Psychotherapist & Supervisor NLP Master Trainer Author of Time Mastery and Real Leaders for the Real World