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Learn how to manage internal conflict and direct your life with purpose using NLP.
What is the relationship between left brain/right brain - mind/heart and adult/child like behaviour? - And how can we embrace the positive attributes of both such that we can enrich our lives?
(Abby Eagle) Most of us would have had the experience of being in two minds about something. It is like one part wants to do one thing while the other part wants to do something else. Most of us are able to resolve the inner conflict and get on with our lives but for others it can become problematic. For example, even though some people may make a decision to stop smoking, avoid chocolate, cut down on alcohol, stop using a drug, break up a relationship etc., they are unable to do so. They know they don't want to do the behaviour yet they find themselves doing it anyway.
The medical model tells us that some people have an addictive personality. It says that genetics, brain chemistry, neurotransmitters, receptor cells, etc. are at the root of the problem. Yet the addiction model does not completely explain how some people are able to stop an addictive pattern without medical intervention while others struggle desperately for decades. If the addiction model was correct then once someone had successfully withdrawn from an addictive substance they should be free from the habit for the rest of their life - and yet it is not uncommon for stress to kick off the habit once again. Even though it is widely understood that stress is associated with many physical and mental health problems - including 70% of visits to the Doctor - it is the one variable that seems to be sidelined in favour of searching for a physical problem.
Looking at inner conflict from an NLP perspective we start by having the client acknowledge that there is a part of them that wants to stop a behaviour and a part that wants them to continue. Then we gather information about each side. It generally looks something like the following:
of the 'Sensible' part
of the 'Bad' part
Serious, sensible, cognitive, thinking, intelligent, mature, grown up, goal directed, ambitious, outgoing, controlling part.
Wants to be healthy.
Knowledgeable. Has conscious understanding of the problem and its consequences. An adult thinking part. Can't understand why it can't change the behaviour.
Does not like the other part. Judges the other part. Often fights with the other part. Lacks awareness that there is another part of the self.
Fun loving good time part. Wants needs fulfilled now. Innocent, playful. Sometimes feels small, hurt, shy, fearful.
It needs a resource state which may be provided by smoking, chocolate, drugs, 'bad' behaviour.
Lives in the now, does not have a concept of future consequences. More like the heart of the person. A childlike part. Does not have cognitive skills - more like a 2 year old child - a kinesthetic part feeling part.
Usually willing to work with the other part.
The adult part may want to change a behavior but often finds itself powerless against the child part. In a way it is humorous. In my mind I see an image of a strong adult man in conflict with a 2 year old girl. As most adults would testify, a 2 year old child can win over an adult man any day.
Ironically part of the solution is for the adult part to relinquish 'control' to the child part and then have both parts work together as a team, sharing their positive attributes. Once the child part gets to play a bigger part in the clients life it grows up and the negative behaviours disappear.
Now let's take a quick look at left brain and right brain attributes.
Left brain functions
Right brain functions
When you compare the attributes of the parts in the first table with that of the characteristics of left and right brain functions in the second table we find the analogies of left brain is to mind is to adult part - and right brain is to heart is to child like part.
It gets even more interesting when you watch the short film of Jill Taylor, a neuroscientist who suffered a blood clot to her left hemisphere. Her description of the experience, eight years after the event, is fascinating. As she lost her left brain functioning she totally lost her cognitive abilities and entered into a right brain experience of the world. She seems to be describing an experience of spiritual enlightenment - albeit caused by a physical trauma to her brain.
So how to have more right brain experiences?
Meditate! It is as simple as that.
You can easily get a sense of moving from the left hemisphere to the right with peripheral sensing meditation. Start by gazing at a spot somewhere in front of you. Don't concentrate, just gently gaze at a spot somewhere in front of you then begin to explore the peripheral vision.
In a matter of moments you will see how objects lose their names and just become objects; colours lose their names and just become colour; and as you close your eyes and drop into a meditative space now, you will find yourself expanding and losing a sense of time so that by the time you open your eyes again you might wonder how long you have been sitting here enjoying the space.
P.S. Take the brain hemisphere dominance 'test'. It's a bit of fun. See if you can get the whirling woman to shift direction. __ © Author Abby Eagle
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