Top 11 Ways the Mind Works

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Whilst our minds are incredibly complex they do work in a set of predictable ways of handling thoughts and associated data. These are the top eleven ways that are the most common and prominent in my work. It is the understanding of these that is behind most fast and effective therapeutic techniques.

1, Our memories of an event get changed slightly at each rembering of it. When it goes back into storage it goes back in its new form and overwrites the old version, this is why stories get funnier with each telling and traumatic incidences can lessen or get aggravated by continual repetition. Memories are not just stored as a story they are stored with all the association such as emotions, sounds, smells, colours, pain and other kinesthetic feelings. NLP works on the deliberate changing of all aspects of the event so that it cannot be stored in the same place or with the same feelings. This shortcut to changing the feeling is what makes it so effective.

2, Internal conflicts exist in all of us and is the main cause of our confused and emotional state. This usually takes the form of “I shouldn’t feel like this” versus “but I do feel like this”. Quite simply it is a matter of finding these conflicts and removing the untrue version. Then there is nothing for the other version to fight with.

3, 80% of all we know about life we learnt before the age of 6. This means that the 20% since may be a lot of your own findings, whereas the 80% most likely will have been based on what the people surrounding you told you, showed you or behaved like, as you grew up. This “knowledge of life” is run by or unconscious thinking as automated programs, many of which are no longer serving you, might not be true and might not have ever been true! Knowledge is the key and looking out for when we run these unwanted programs helps us remove or over-write them.

4, Our perception is our own reality. What we perceive is happening controls our emotions and our emotions drive our action or inaction. This is a feedback loop where we continue to believe our perceptions because we prove them right time and time again. Understanding this is at the heart of a technique called reframing, which enables you to see the more helpful side of things.

5, Just as our perception is unique, so is everyone elses. We all have a map of the world its just that we all have different maps! Friction occurs when we don’t understand this and can’t see why others clearly can’t follow our map. Once we understand they can’t see our map and neither can we see theirs, we can become far more tolerant.

6, Thoughts are just thoughts. We often think about things and then don’t do them. We often think about things and then follow it through with action. However when we have bad thoughts, we seem to want to dwell on them and turn them into pain or misery, without realising they are just thoughts and can be disposed of if they are unhelpful.

7, Negative emotions, repetitive bad dreams, bad thoughts and pain are all calls to action. We ignore them at our peril and they will not go away until dealt with. We need to analyse the message properly and deal with it after which we can throw the message away!

8, Our conscious aspects of the brain are small and slow in comparison with the automated processes we are unaware of (the unconscious). The unconscious runs hundreds of programs at the same time (heart, lungs, temperature, posture etc.) and it is like a small child that wants to please its parent. It faithfully runs all the programs you teach it and puts up with you moaning about those habits that you formed. And here is the biggest issue, it doesn’t understand negatives! Whatever you think about is what it assumes you want. You don’t want to be fat, it hears “fat”, you don’t want to be poor it hears “poor”, you don’t want to hit the tree you are skidding towards, it hears “tree”. It’s capacity to provide you with whatever you want is awesome. The skill is in the phrasing and the expectation.

9, Our body and mind are interconnected – totally. You cannot separate out physical and mental processes, thoughts, feelings or pain without both aspects being involved. This is why people can have pain in a limb that has been amputated or feel no pain when the injury is major and obvious. All medication has to be measured to be better than the placebo effect, the ability for people to recover just from feeling they are getting the correct treatment. There is also the nocebo effect, that people become ill because they feel something harmful has entered their life.

10, Projection is reflection. No one can mind read, at best we can pick up on clues and test them. Yet we all think we know what other people are thinking about us. What we think other people think about us is our own version of what we think about ourselves. It has to be because it comes from our mind.

11, The brain is divided into two sections and whilst they work together they roughly equate to the logical side and the emotional side. Your eyes tend to try and look at the part of the brain it needs to access data from and this can be used to alter emotions to be more in balance with your logic by simple and practical application of eye movements.

Bonus!

12, Our unconscious has a stacking system of related issues. So whilst consciously you may not be aware of each one of them, the overload of too many related issues in a short time can trigger a panic attack or other really strong emotion. It’s like the last straw that broke the camels back, so the final trigger might be the only one you are aware of.

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