Maria Connolly, LPC

Category: NLP

Neuro-Linguistic Programming is an approach to communication and personal development created in the 1970’s. The name refers to a connection between the neurological processes (“neuro”), language (“linguistic”), and behavioral patterns that have been learned through experience (“programming”) and can be organized to achieve specific goals in life. NLP Coaching services aim to find ways to help people have better, fuller and richer lives. By paying close attention to the language we use, as well as becoming more aware of the nonverbal patterns in our environment we can become more deliberate and purposeful in our thinking and actions.

Change Your Thinking Change Your Life with 4 Favorite NLP Techniques

We can be our own worst enemies when we allow our thinking to stop us from achieving our dreams. Learn to embrace this – change your thinking change your life.“The brain can be developed just the same as the muscles can be developed, if one will only take the pains to train the mind to think.” ~ Thomas A. Edison

You think you don’t deserve it. You think you can’t do it. You think taking charge is for someone more experienced. You think someone else can do it better. You think small. You think too much! Sound familiar? You’re not alone! The only thing that keeps us from attaining our dream is our own thought process, so it’s time to change your thinking change your life.

Especially as women, we can be our own worst enemy. While gender is still a factor in whether a person is viewed as an influential leader or not, we can’t use that as an excuse any longer. The business world is changing and women are proving to be very effective as leaders.

Yes, the battlefield has moved from the boardroom into your subconscious mind. You tell yourself you want one thing, but your unconscious mind wants something else. This creates serious roadblocks that seem insurmountable. The good news is that Neuro-Linguistic Programming can help you change your thinking and ultimately change your life.

You are an emotional, thinking, physical and spiritual human being. All these Parts are intertwined and inseparable. Your thoughts influence your emotions, which are experienced and stored in your body and manifested through body sensations. If there is a disruption in one Part, or there is a miscommunication between Parts, you will be conflicted and your thinking will become distorted.

If you’re feeling heavy you may be experiencing sadness. Shame feels shrunken and withdrawn. Reflect on how anger makes you feels hot and stormy, while excitement feels energizing. Emotions live inside your body, changing your physical experience can cause you to believe and act in specific ways. One moment you’re happy (emotion) on top of the world, so you’re feeling spacious and light in the chest (body sensations). Then something happens to make you feel anxious (emotion). It feels like your world is caving in, your shoulders slump and you feel deflated and dull (body sensations).

By changing your physiology, you can alleviate these body sensations and alter your emotional experience. For example, if you feel shy and uncertain, you’ll gain a little more confidence by breathing deeply, softening and straightening your spine, lifting your head and looking people in the eye. The more you practice this, the more confidence will become your natural state. You can actually reshape your thoughts and emotions just as surely as you can reshape your body through exercise, thereby creating a harmonious mind body connection.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming can help you tune into your emotions and identify each sensation as you experience it. When you honor the messages that your body is sending you, you won’t try to override them or dismiss them. Instead you’ll be able to suspend judgment  and simply become an observer of them. In this way you can accept them for what they are and change what isn’t serving you.

Here are four of my favorite NLP techniques you can use to gain mastery over your mind and body, so you finally achieve your dreams.

NLP Achoring Techniques. Associate a signal or trigger (tapping your chest, snapping a rubber band, squeezing your fingers) with a physiological response (an emotion, mood, or mental state) of your choice. 

Visualization. Your brain believes what you think about, so repeatedly imagine the outcome you desire.

Parts Integration. If Part of you doesn’t think you can do it, then use my Tea Time Exercise to bring harmony within yourself, so ALL of you believes you can.

Reframing. Identify unhelpful thoughts and replace them with positive statements that support a positive self-image.

Try these NLP techniques and see how they can change your thinking at a subconscious level – change your state – change your behavior – change your results or outcomes – change your life. By mindfully choosing to overcome your mental roadblocks, you can become more influential and effective. This quote by Earl Nightingale is so true…

“The mind moves in the direction of our currently dominating thought.”

Now, more than ever, it’s vital for women to develop and enhance leadership qualities within ourselves and the next generation of younger women. We invite you to join us at our annual Women: Wisdom, Presence, and Flow! Retreat June 20 to 26th in Grand Canary Island. (FLOW stands for Fierce Leaders Organizing Worldwide!) We’re empowering women, like you, to change your thinking change your life.

Setting Boundaries in Relationships Takes Inner Strength & Good Communication

Setting boundaries in relationships takes these important internal steps before you have the emotional clarity, mental strength, and centeredness that remove the agitation so you come from a place of inner peace. “No” is a complete sentence.”  ~ Annie Lamott

Do people often irritate and annoy you because they keep calling when you don’t want them to? When you see someone coming, do you want to run and hide? Do they interrupt your work-time with requests without regard for how it disrupts your concentration? Do you feel like family is using you or taking advantage of you all the time? Does it drive you crazy that your partner helps himself to your things, without asking? All of these situations indicate that you have clear boundaries in your head, but you’re missing some vital steps to setting boundaries in relationships in your life.

Avoiding conflict, the primary reason most people put off these conversations, is never a good basis for any relationship. I know it can feel risky to speak your truth and let whatever happens happen. Letting go and not controlling the outcome can be terrifying. Our minds automatically go to how much we can lose. In fact, our minds can amplify the negatives by thinking in terms of absolutes or all or nothing declarations – “If I tell him that, he’s going to think I’m too picky and won’t love me any more” or “If we disagree, it will lead to a fight and I’ll lose my friend/job.”

An unwillingness to “put skin in the game” cripples a relationship before it can begin. If a relationship is worth having, it’s worth giving your whole self to it.

It won’t work if you passive aggressively ignore a situation and hope it will fix itself. And you can’t rely on people “taking a hint”. People are not mind readers. If something is bothering you, and you just “grin and bear it” they’re going to assume everything’s okay. And that may lead to resentment, which can eat away at you until you explode. The other person stands there stunned, wondering “where did that come from?”! I like what F. Scott Fitzgerald said about this,

“If you spend your life sparing people’s feelings and feeding their vanity, you get so you can’t distinguish what should be respected in them.” 

It is necessary to do more than setting personal boundaries in your head; it requires you clearly and respectfully communicate them to others, whether that’s a coworker, a friend, or a casual acquaintance.

However, in between setting boundaries and communicating them to others are a number of important internal steps to take before you have the emotional clarity, mental strength, and centeredness that is required to remove the agitation so you come from a place of inner peace

Understand why it’s important for you to set a certain boundary. Being wishy washy or sending mixed signals will only frustrate you and the people around you. This means creating harmony between all of your Parts first. For example, Part of you may want to be respected, but another Part of you doesn’t think you deserve it. My Tea-Time Exercise is a great way to resolve these internal conflicts.

Remember, it’s not always about you. Successful communication takes time to really think about the person you want to clarify boundaries with: their personality, their background, your type of relationship, etc. This will guide in you in your approach.

When you’re setting boundaries, keep the mindset of improving your relationship, moving past the hard times and coming out stronger

You may meet some resistance. Change is seldom easy for anyone. Patiently and kindly maintain your boundary and avoid taking the attitude that’s “it’s my way or the highway.” Remind them of why you need things to be different. When someone cares about you, they want to know how they’re hurting you, so they can make you feel good. Maintaining a boundary means not only sticking to what you say you’ll do, but also holding the other person accountable.

Learning Neuro Linguistic Programming is an excellent way to improve all the skills needed for setting boundaries in relationships. Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Let’s explore your options!

Use Powerful Intentions to Become Your Authentic Best

Learn how to use and set powerful intentions to become the person you want to be, doing the things that matter the most to you as you live life to the full.“Intention is one of the most powerful forces there is. What you mean when you do a thing will always determine the outcome.” ~ Brenna Yovanoff

Every New Year people make resolutions they don’t keep. Why is that? Often it’s not the resolution that’s the problem. It’s that the intention behind the resolution wasn’t powerful enough.

What does it mean to set intentions? Setting intentions is a powerful tool used in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). When you’re setting powerful intentions you’re creating within yourself a new and specific state or frame of mind that serves your purpose in life. You’re sending a message to the Universe, to the world and to yourself about…

  • Who you want to be.
  • What you wish to contribute.
  • How you choose to touch the lives of others. 

Powerful intentions are as expansive as you want to make them. You have the freedom and the power to become whoever you want to be. You’ll be amazed at how many resolutions or goals you’ll successfully meet when you consciously base them on your intentions.

To get you started, here are some examples of clear intentions you can set:

  • I intend to lead by example.
  • I intend to love unconditionally.
  • I intend to stop taking things personally.
  • I intend to manifest happiness naturally.
  • I intend to see the goodness around me.
  • I intend to be kind even when under pressure.
  • I intend to make someone smile every day.
  • I intend to freely forgive others and myself.
  • I intend to make mindfulness an important part of each day.
  • I intend to suspend judgment and accept life as it is in the moment.

Instead, of some distant, seemingly unachievable destination, make your powerful intention your new reality. For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose 15 pounds,” say, “I’m going to treat myself to a nutritious lunch because I’m a healthy person and I deserve to feel energetic today.”

As you form your intentions, remember these important points:

Frame your intention in a present tense and positive tone.

If your intention is to reduce stress, say something like, “My intention is to invite peace and calm within myself today.” Try to avoid saying something like, “I will stop stressing.”

Make your intention adjustable and attainable.

If you stick with the same intention week after week, your mind stops responding to it. Therefore, stick with the same intention for a few days then rephrase it slightly. (Never drastically alter it.) You can change up your previous intention by saying, “My intention is to enjoy the peace I create in myself.” The goal is to polish and enhance changes by making doable baby steps rather than giant leaps.

So many people try to “fix” what they don’t like about their lives. That’s a really negative approach. They also focus on some future time that takes them out of the moment. As a result, they’re not living their authentic life and they’re not enjoying each moment that they live.

If you’re ready to create the life you’ve always wanted, please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). You don’t have to wait for a new year to start making lasting changes that bring your more happiness and satisfaction.

(I’ve been using NLP for years to help my clients excel. Now I’m thinking about developing a NLP training online. Are you interested?  Send me an email and I’ll keep you posted on my progress toward completing the course. I’d love to hear from you.)

Parts Integration – How to Stop Self-Sabotage and Cultivate Internal Harmony

Use my Tea Time exercise that’s based on NLP Parts Integration Technique to create internal harmony and end inner conflictAre you plagued by self-sabotaging behavior? For instance, you want to lose weight but you keep turning to that carton of chocolate ice cream for comfort. Or you want to be a successful manager, but you rub people the wrong way, or unwittingly create drama so you’re always putting out fires.

Self-sabotaging behavior occurs when different “parts” of your self are conflicted. You want success, but a Part of you doesn’t believe you deserve it. You want to be healthy and fit, but a Part of you self-medicates unhealed emotional wounds with comfort food.

Even if you somehow manage to ignore the needs of one of your Parts, you’ll still suffer from lack of harmony and integration. The result will be suppressed emotions and unmet desires.

On the other hand, if you learn to use a Parts Integration Technique, you’ll be more congruent, empowered and clear in your decisions and actions.

You can teach your Parts to holistically work together in an exercise I call the “Tea Time” exercise. (You can find the “Tea Time” exercise by clicking here.) This NLP based, Parts Integration technique lets you see what’s going on under the surface. It creates harmony between Parts of your unconscious mind, so that all of your values, wants and needs are in alignment.

What are the benefits of doing the “Tea Time” exercise?  

Parts integration stimulates self-awareness. We are never just one thing. Even if one Part is smaller, when you dismiss it, it can cause imbalance internally. The “Tea Time” exercise is a great tool for understanding and accepting internal contradictions. For example, if you’re an extrovert, identify your smaller Part that has a strong need for alone time. A person that spends all their time with others and no time by themselves might be trying to avoid feeling lonely or being with their thoughts.

Parts integration assists in goal setting. Sometime you might struggle with conflicting goals and priorities. Identifying and naming the Parts in conflict can stimulate a useful internal dialogue that acknowledges all aspects of yourself. Goals formed with awareness of internal conflicts are less likely to be sabotaged by rebel Parts.

Parts integration uncovers resource states. One of my clients, a resolute introvert, wanted to become more comfortable with public speaking, yet he felt resistance to feeling exposed. He has a powerful message and an amazing personal story to share. He’s also articulate and has a warm presence. Inside, a great speaker was waiting to be unleashed.

As he prepared his next presentation, I suggested: “Can we have some Tea Time? Imagine the Part that wants to share your powerful message and state its positive intention. Now give voice to the Part that doesn’t want to feel vulnerable in front of a crowd and state its intention.”

When he could see that both Parts wanted something positive for him (the first part wanted to him to share his mission; the second one wanted him to be safe) he felt more understanding and ultimately at peace. When the time came to give the talk, he stepped fully into the role of public speaker, sharing that he felt vulnerable. He really connected with his audience and his talk was extremely powerful. He still uses the Tea Time exercise to continue to discover different Parts and cultivate inner peace and integration.

Parts integration fosters balance. We often want to hide, squash, deny Parts of ourselves we don’t like. If I value being kind and available to other, I might want to deny or squash the Part that seems selfish or self-centered. Using the Tea Time exercise can help us discover that the part we are not acknowledging is attempting to create inner balance between being other-centered and self-centered. In fact, our system is always organized to seek equilibrium and stability. This exercise can foster a sense of wholeness, integration and overall wellbeing.

If you’d like some guidance on how to use NLP to address an internal conflict please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).

I’m also thinking about developing a NLP training online. Are you interested?  Send me an email and I’ll keep you posted on my progress toward completing the course. I’d love to hear from you.

Resolve Internal Conflicts with My NLP Tea Time Exercise

If you’ve ever feel conflicted or indecisive, this NLP Tea Time exercise can help you resolve internal conflicts so your various Parts can act harmoniously.“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” ~ Thomas Merton

“I know I have to make a decision, but I’m really conflicted about this. On one hand I feel this way, but on the other hand I feel like this.” Have you ever felt or said something similar to this?

In my recent newsletter (if you haven’t signed up for it yet, you can click here to sign up), I discussed how this inner conflict is the result of our subconscious parts not working harmoniously together.

The good news is that you can teach your parts to holistically work together so you can achieve your desired outcomes in life. I’ve discovered an effective way that I use personally and that has helped my clients, too. I call it the “Tea Time” exercise.

The “Tea Time” exercise is my version of NLP’s (Neuro Linguistic Programming) popular Parts Integration technique. It’s a very useful skill to overcome ‘bad habits’, indecision, procrastination and all sorts of internal conflicts. It’s so helpful because it creates a non-judgmental space where all internal parts can be heard and expressed with the outcome of fostering understanding.

How do you do the “Tea Time” exercise?

Imagine that you’re sitting down to have tea with your Parts that are in conflict. For example, perhaps you are considering a new business venture and there are some risks involved. You feel conflicted internally and this is keeping your from moving forward. One the one hand, your safety-minded part wants to keep you safe. The wants-to-be-challenged part wants you to grow. You can invite both parts to participate.

Remember the following rules:

  1. Begin with a brief centering exercise to deliberately set the stage.
  2. Make a commitment to suspend all judgment and to listen with curiosity.
  3. Let each Part explain what it wants, needs, acknowledging its values, beliefs and positive intention.
  4. Act as a witness that, from a higher perspective, observes and perceives the different positive intentions.
  5. The two Parts previously in conflict can now understand the other’s intention.
  6. This understanding creates harmony between the Parts of the unconscious mind, so that their values are more in alignment.

By following this exercise you will have ‘Integrated Parts’ and this will lead to feeling more congruent, empowered and clear in your decisions and actions. In my next blog post, I’ll share how you can specifically use this technique for various outcomes and the specific benefits your can derive from doing so.

NLP is one of the best models for understanding the ways we communicate not only with others, but even more importantly with ourselves. It’s great for identifying what’s holding you back. If you’d like some guidance on how to use NLP to address an internal conflict please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).


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