Wednesday, 24 May 2017

State Change

In a previous blog I emphasized that we are each in control of our own emotions.  External factors may seem to create negative or positive emotions, but this only happens because we allow it.

So how do you actually switch from a negative to a positive emotion?  What do you need to do to achieve this?

This is not an easy thing to do, especially if it is not something you do all the time (or perhaps have never done), and especially if the negative emotion you are feeling is very strong.  It is not easy, but you CAN do it.

I would suggest the way NOT to do it is to say something like "come on, perk up!", or to have someone say this to you.  You may just as well say "come on, flap your arms and fly!" for all the good that does.

In Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) it is common to hear a lot of talk about "state change".  Really, this is just another phrase for saying the same thing - changing your emotions.

If you are in a deep funk, maybe desperately sad about something, or perhaps very angry, before you can replace this negative emotion with a positive one you need to switch out of that mood as quickly as possible.  And "as quickly as possible" can be very quick.  It can be instantaneous!

In a very recent blog article I gave you a technique you could use for this in a specific situation.  Someone has made you very angry.  How can you snap right out of that angry mood?  One method I suggested was to imagine the person who has made you angry is suddenly standing there completely naked.  Depending on the circumstances you may now wish to laugh out loud.  I say "depending on the circumstances" as if the person is standing right there it might not be appropriate for you to laugh suddenly.  In the example I gave, you are driving a car and the person who made you angry is the driver of another car who has cut you up.  In that situation you can, and SHOULD, laugh out loud as you picture them standing there stark naked.  Where the person is standing in front of you, still see him stark naked but only laugh internally.

Try this.  If you have never done something like this before you will be amazed at the result.  You should find your laughter wipes away that negative emotion, giving you time to replace it with a positive emotion of your choice.

This is only one example of a state change technique, but it is a very powerful one.

Once you have wiped away the negative emotion, recognize that what caused it was your reaction to someone or something - not that someone or something itself.  The person has not changed, and nor has the situation, but you are no longer angry (for example) but are inwardly and perhaps outwardly laughing.

The next step is to stop yourself reacting negatively again once the amusement has passed.  To a degree you have already done that - just keep that naked image there.  But there is also an inner conversation you had with yourself that generated the negative emotion in the first place, or at least perpetuated and amplified it.  You may have said something like this to yourself: "How dare he move into my lane like that, so close to me and without even signalling!".  Now that you have created a state change, don't waste this opportunity by engaging in the same negative conversation again.  Yes, the guy who cut you up did a silly thing.  It was not nice.  But don't add to the problems he may have caused you by allowing him to make you miserable.  You already know what he did was wrong and why it was wrong, so there is no need at all for you to have a conversation with yourself about it.  On the other hand, you could certainly continue a conversation resulting from your amusement about him sitting in his car stark naked!

So that is a technique you can use to stop a negative emotion in its tracks.  A very effective technique.  Try to think of others.  It is best to have a selection of such techniques in your "state change armoury".  The one I have just given you works very well when it is a person that is causing the negative emotion.  You can extend it just a little so you can use it in any situation, not just one caused by a person.  For example, you may choose to see everyone around you as naked.  This will still create the state change you need, even though they are all innocent and you have nothing against any of them.  Think of a few more like this and remember to use them next time you are suffering from a negative emotion of any kind.

After you have removed the negative emotion and stopped yourself from calling it back again, the final step is to trigger a positive emotion.

There is much you can do to trigger a positive emotion.  I find one of the best ways is to recall a time in the past when you felt that emotion really strongly.  Visualize it.  See it as though you are sat in a cinema and the scene you remember is now being played on the screen.  In colour.  This is important.  Your mind, which doesn't like anything that changes your state, will probably try to limit you by making the film black and white rather than colour.  If that happens, just remember the scene more vividly and recall it in full technicolour.  Allow the emotion to flow through you.  Then step into the scene.  Experience it again fully with all your senses.

Rather than waiting until you need to use it, you should take some time now (or when you next have a few minutes by yourself) and go through this exercise.  Take some time to find some of the best examples.  Relive them as described above.  Do this several times for each of those incidents over the next few days.  Keep doing it until you can recall each incident and feel the emotions strongly without too much effort.

Once you have two or three (or even more), the final step is to "anchor" them.  This simply means associating each with a physical action.  Many NLP practitioners will teach you to do this with a completely random action.  For example, tap your right hand with the middle finger of your left hand.  Keep repeating the incident in your mind, and each time the really powerful positive emotion flows through you, tap your hand in this way.  If you do this enough times, you should then find that if you tap your hand in this way it automatically brings back that positive emotion.  Keep practising this anchoring until that is the case.

I suggest, though, that you anchor the best example with the right body posture associated with that emotion.  For example, if you are trying to anchor your best example of being happy, then anchor it with a smile.  As above, keep going back to that incident that caused you such happiness, and each time the happiness flows through you anchor it with a smile.

Do this and you will have some very powerful tools to create the right state changes no matter what is happening around you.

If you would like some outside help with creating the right state changes, try this site:



  2. You are very welcome Star. I am glad you have found it helpful. :)

  3. You could even do it in a non physical way such as in your mind put the great feeling in a bottle and know it's still there to open if you need it and, because it's in your mind no one else knows or sees you doing it.

    Thank you so much for this it really is great empowering informationūüĆĻ