Life is all about change. When we were children change came easily. We could learn new things like languages quickly and easily, and adapt to all sorts of different situations with confidence.
As we got older, we likely became more set in our views. We adopted different behaviors and habits, some that were beneficial and others which weren’t.
As the years have gone by, many of us have perhaps gotten stuck in recurring behaviors of a negative nature. If these behaviors are not negative, they often are not optimal. We may have attempted to change some of these patterns of behavior with little success, and this may have left us discouraged and even despairing.
I’m sure this is a situation that rings a bell for many people, but the good news is that there is an effective behavioral technology which has allowed many people to make deep and permanent changes in their lives. This technology is known as Neuro Linguistic Programming, or NLP for short. It is one of the most powerful tools for personal development that has ever been discovered.
Compared to other psychological techniques it is relatively new. For this reason there will be many who have not become familiar with it. Such a powerful technology is far to valuable to remain somewhat anonymous, and in this article we will shed more light on the subject of NLP and examine a specific technique known as the Swish Pattern. We will answer relevant questions such as, what is NLP? What is the Swish Pattern? And, how can you use the Swish Pattern technique to change your life? Let’s proceed.
What is NLP?
Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a psychological school of thought that was developed in the 1970’s by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Mr. Grinder had a background in linguistics and Mr. Bandler a background in mathematics. They developed it because they wanted to find a way to give people the psychological tools to make themselves and their lives better.
Perhaps the easiest way to get a handle on what it is would be to break down and explain the elements of its name.
The word ‘Neuro’ basically is a way of expressing the fact that we perceive the world through our five senses, and our subsequent behaviors are based on these perceptions. At this point it is important to note that these perceptions can be changed.
The word ‘Linguistic’ expresses the point that we use language – spoken and unspoken – to regulate our thoughts, behaviors, and communications with others.
The word ‘Programming’ refers to the fact that programs can and are entered into our brain. For example, every time we learn a new skill, we are in effect introducing a new program. Based on our experiences, different programs and patterns can be imposed from the outside if we allow it. It is important to also realize that we can consciously reprogram ourselves from the inside. Once we have gained this ability, it gives us the power to change our behaviors and hence our lives.
So to bring it all together, NLP is a way of using our perceptions, our communication skills, and our ability to change how we think to effect massive and positive changes in our lives, and sometimes the lives of others.
What is an NLP Swish Pattern and How Can it Help me?
One way to define life is to describe it as a long series of experiences. From before we are born to the present moment, we have had one experience after another. Some were pleasant, others not so pleasant. As a child you may have been playing on a swing set and fallen off. As a teenager, you may have taken a great trip to another country. As a young adult, you may have fallen in love. Whatever our personal experiences have been, each one has left an indelible mark on our subconscious minds.
What this boils down to is that we all have pre-programmed unconscious reactions to anything we have had an encounter with in our past. This often works in our favor. Being able to recognize a truly dangerous situation for what it is can be crucial to our well being.
The problem lies with the fact that sometimes these unconscious behaviors and reactions don’t fit the situation, and can actually hold us back. For example, think for a second about going to the gym. Did you get a sudden feeling of dread, or did you feel energized and thrilled by the thought of it? Whatever feeling that you experienced was an automatic reaction your subconscious mind had when presented with the thought of going to the gym.
It will have similar reactions to everything you think of. So now that we understand that even something beneficial can evoke a negative response from our minds, what do we want to do? We want to find a way to provoke a positive response to things that are good for us. If we can do this, it becomes much easier to effect positive changes in every area of our lives.
This is what the Swish Pattern does. Used properly, it has the power to bring out your best behavior and performance when you need it most. It could be at work, in relationships, at school, at an athletic competition. It could also be used to stop a bad habit, such as to quit smoking or to stop nail biting.
How to Swish
We will now present detailed information on how to use the Swish Pattern to reach your peak performance in any situation.
The first thing you need to do is figure out which behavior you would like to change. It could be a dietary change, it could be procrastination, it could be anything. The key is to focus on one issue at a time.
Next, you have to figure out what kind of cue triggers your automatic behaviors. If it’s a dietary change you are looking for, think about what is going through your mind the moment before you reach for the cake. Whatever thought that is, that’s your cue. If you have a little difficulty doing this, try imagining what it would be like not to reach for the cake. Whatever thought or feeling you experience will be a strong clue of what your cue is. After doing this step, clear your mind and do something else for a couple of minutes.
Now, you will want to figure out what your desired behavior would be. If you want to workout, that would be getting into your sweats and going to the gym. If you’re in school, that could mean turning the TV off, putting on some soft music, and studying. It all depends on what you know your best behavior would be in that situation.
Once you have done this, create a vivid picture in your mind that represents you at your best moment, It could be you striding from the gym feeling refreshed. It could be you receiving your degree. Whatever it is, really bring it to life and associate your most positive emotions with it.
We’ve reached the moment of truth, because it’s Swish time!
We will simply be replacing the negative cue that you identified with the positive picture that you created. Start by seeing a big image of the negative cue in your mind. Make it nice and big.
Next, take a tiny mental snapshot of your new positive self and put it in the corner. Make it nice and small like a postage stamp.
Now, pretend that your tiny positive image is attached to a slingshot and stretch it back even further away from you. When the strings are tight, let go and fire that positive image right back at yourself. As it gets closer, it gets bigger and more vivid. At the same time, imagine the picture of the old you shooting away just as quickly and getting tinier. Swish!
As you look at the huge image of your new self, fully enjoy the great emotions that you’re feeling. Revel in them. Then, clear your mind and go do something else for a couple of minutes.
Now, you want to make sure that this is embedded in you, so repeat the last step at least 10 more times. Enjoy the good feelings. By the time you are done, you will have difficulty even seeing the old you.
You have successfully turned a negative cue into a positive one, and now you know you can apply it to anything. This is the power of NLP and techniques such as the Swish Pattern and their potential for personal development and self improvement. Enjoy the new you!
Did using the swish technique help you to change the way you felt about a situation or experience? Tell us by leaving a comment below!