How to make your own day!

Reading time 4 mins

Use NLP to keep things in perspective

What does it take to derail your day?

What does it take for somebody to wind you up or put you down?

And for how long afterwards do you typically allow this to run your day?

(Some people take this sort of thing to extremes. When I worked as a counsellor I encountered lots of people who refused to speak with a friend or relative because of  a careless comment made 20 or 30 years previously! They had lived with the resentment, the anger, or the hurt for all that time…)

It’s very easy to loose our sense of perspective when something ‘bad’ occurs.

One moment things are going fine, then you experience a setback, and from then on there’s a cloud over your day – or week. You’ve reset your ‘filters’ and now only see the unpleasant side of things.

And, of course, the process is self-feeding; soon the future looks grim and you only see the grim side of the past, too.

For example:

  • You work in sales and enjoy your work but encounter two or three unpleasant customers in a morning – and then begin to doubt whether sales is the right field for you.
  • You enjoy your job but a manager or colleague makes a careless or unfair comment – and your whole day is clouded.
  • A friend criticises something you do or did – and you begin recognising the things that you don’t like about them
  • (By the way there are links to more information on NLP and Anchors at the end of this article).

The cost

Being at the mercy of other people’s behaviour can be costly in terms of self-esteem, peace of mind and income.

  • In sales there’s a phenomenon called call reluctance in which the salesperson finds all sorts of excuses to avoid phoning or calling upon customers, often because they’ve allowed a few setbacks to undermine their confidence and enthusiasm
  • Many people become reluctant to speak up in meetings or make presentations because they keep dwelling on times when doing do caused them embarrassment
  • Hours or even days of enjoyment and productivity can be lost because the ill-advised comment of a manager deflated an employee’s enthusiasm.

Generalisations and NLP Anchors

In these cases we are allowing our ability/tenancy to Generalise (see The Meta Model) to cause us to lose our sense of perspective.

And we are allowing ourselves to become victims of the NLP Anchoring Process. An Anchor results in an immediate state change. Once a negative trigger is activated by someone’s behaviour we instantly slip into a negative state.

However it’s difficult to come up with empowering and delightful thoughts when you’re sliding into a gloom about things.

So you need to prepare your ‘positive side of things’ in advance.  But, for some of us, this can be a problem.  A common tendency, when things are going fine, is to want to continue enjoying things in the moment and to ignore the negative things that might be evoked in the far and distant future…! So we bury our head in the sand and hope the good times will last forever.

They won’t last forever – so we need to prepare in advance or endure the consequences.

Taking action

When we allow somebody else’s behaviour to derail our emotions we put ourselves in a victim position.  Because their behaviour triggers a pre-existing anchor in us we then decide that they’ve ‘made us’ feel bad.

They haven’t, of course.  Our ‘unattended-to’ anchor is the real issue – not their behaviour.

Four steps to regaining your sense of perspective

  1. Prepare a replacement thought/anchor prepared in advance
  2. Strengthen this by thinking about it a few times daily for a week or so
  3. Use it instantly each and every time a situation occurs that derails your mood
  4. Fine-tune your replacement thought to make it more potent/appropriate

(1) The Replacement thought

It’s best to prepare a Replacement Thought for a particular type of situation. You might have one for work, one for socialising, etc. (Yes, you can have one for your home life – but home situations are a little more complex and will be dealt with in future newsletters).

Let’s say you are preparing a replacement thought for use in customer-facing situations. Think of all the things you like about your job – the challenge, the opportunities, the income, the really great customers, etc.  Make a list of these. Now come up with a specific instance for each of them: a moment when you felt wonderfully challenged, a chat with your boss about future opportunities, an image of seeing the income on your bank statement, a recent interaction with the delightful customer, etc.

Aim to come up with four strong memories for make up your composite Replacement Thought.

(2) Strengthen the Replacement thought

Think of your replacement thought a few times daily. And do it whichever ways suits you. Do it in pictures (visually) by imagining the four thoughts on a screen in your mind’s eye.  Do it in feelings (kinaesthetically) by feeling yourself surrounded by the four memories. Do it in sounds (auditorily) by hearing the soundtrack of each of the four memories.

Whichever way you do it make sure it evokes a strong feeling. This is the key.

(3) Use it instantly

Next time somebody press is one of your buttons immediately do two things in quick succession

Change your state physically.  Stand up, move around, have a drink of water, shake off the feeling, is to breathing, etc. this interrupts the anchoring effect.

Activate your Replacement Thought whether as an image, feeling, or sound

(4) Fine tune to make it more effective

If the process ‘doesn’t work’ or is not strong enough this is simply an indication that you need to have a more potent replacement thought.  So find better examples and practice bringing them to mind easily so that they activate a strong pleasant emotion.


The Pegasus NLP Newsletter

Most articles on this site were first published in the Pegasus NLP Newsletter.

This has been published regularly since February 2000 – and you can subscribe to the newsletter here

And there will be no spam – I promise.  You have trusted me with your email address I will use it for the Newsletter and for nothing else – and it will never be shared with anyone else. Ever.  (Reg Connolly, founder of Pegasus NLP.)


Scroll to Top