Our emotional state can have a direct impact upon our performance. When we are in a negative state (fear, anxiety, anger, depression) we can become immobilised or reactionary with our actions being driven by emotional rather than considered choices.
In positive states (happy, joy, excitement, passion) our approach becomes more action (rather than reaction) oriented and we can be more effective. We make better choices when we are coming from a better mental state.
Inducing a state in ourselves or in our clients is an important skill to have as it can immediately change our outlook and turn an negative mental process into a positive one.
Going There First
Often the easiest way to induce a state in a client is to get into that state ourselves first. Just as laughter is infectious, so are other emotional states, people who are happy create happiness in others, people who are excited find their excitement echoed by those around them.
If we wish to get a client into a particular emotional state it is easier to do it if we ourselves are in that state to begin with. Trying to induce confidence is difficult if we are dispassionate or careless.
Inducing a Desired State
There are four simple steps to getting yourself or someone else into a particular emotional state.
Identify the State
Pick a positive state that would be useful in the context that you are working with. For example, if dealing with anxiety then a confident or calm state might be appropriate, for a compulsion, control or restraint may be more effective.
Describe the state in sensory terms; what would you see, say, feel, hear etc. What is it about this state that makes it unique e.g. what differentiates ‘confident’ from ‘powerful’?
Enter the State
Think of times when you have been in this state (no matter how fleetingly). If it’s not one that you have experienced, then think of a time when you have experienced something similar to the state.
Find the common modality information across the different memories. Notice where there is overlap and consistency. Is there a specific phrase or sound? Are you hot/cold in each recall?
If necessary produce a list for each memory to ease with identifying key modal signatures to the state.
Enhance State Intensity
Use sub-modality shifts to increase the intensity of the desired state. By modifying the components of the sub-modalities of an emotional state it is possible to increase the strength of the feeling.
When increasing the intensity it can be useful to access other memories where the same emotional state was involved as these will bring with them additional modality information which can be added to what already exists.
It can be useful to add key phrases or sayings (Internal Dialogue/Auditory Digital) modal information to boost the personal engagement with the state.
With greater experience you will be able to add new sub-modality information into an individuals representation to improve and strengthen it and make it more contextual for the client e.g. by adding future paced component.
Once you have elicited a state and built-up the modal information to a sufficient level the final step is to move the state into the limbic system. If the state is sufficiently strong then this should happen spontaneously in Step 3, however there may be occasions when it is necessary to transfer it ‘manually’.
As with all NLP Techniques this one will require practice and as you work with yourself or a client you will find sub-modalities that consistently have greater impact on the strength of a state than others.