Balance – it’s in our nature.
In 1995 fourteen wolves were released into Yellowstone National Park.
At first deer numbers drastically reduced and then deer behaviour changed as they moved into areas less visible to the wolves.
In the absence of deer foraging, flowers and trees began flourishing, which led to berries, bugs and insects, which in turn attracted more birds. And then beavers returned, building dams that provided habitat for otters, muskrats, and reptiles. Coyote numbers reduced causing proliferation of rabbit and mice, which in turn attracted hawks, red foxes, badgers, and weasels.
And once a ‘balance’ between predator and prey was established, the park’s physical geography had changed as (previously eroded) riverbanks were now stabilised by the new vegetation.
What’s this got to do with NLP?
Have you ever noticed how the mind’s internal environment can house both predator AND prey? And although people come to us seeking ‘balance’ between work, home, and play, learning to ‘balance’ their internal habitat, always positively affects management of the outside world.
What are the mechanisms for restoring the mind’s habitat to flourishing vitality? Solutions start with awareness of possibility and an attitude of willingness to seek ‘balance’.
To do this we must think on purpose! Because thoughts alone either deplete or nourish brain-body chemistry, which in turn can cause erosion OR restoration of sustainable balances within.
Keep feeding thoughts that nurture thriving, that’s all. This alone will starve what no longer needs to exist in that place.
NLP is a system for sustainable inner balance! Do more of it! And if you can’t easily do it for yourself – do it so that others in your social system may thrive. Humanity is in great need of ‘balance’. And nature teaches us all we need to know.
Discover how we can help you balance your thoughts, feelings and behaviours and change your internal geography: HERE
Speaking metaphorically and following the Star Wars (films) reference/ambiguity “May the 4th go with you…” Would you say your inner light-saber generally shines light and bright, or dull and dim?
And thinking about your shiniest days at work, do you know the critical factors that influence these? For example:
- Which thoughts are in your mind while you are a beacon of light at work?
- What emotions maintain your best flow state?
- How do others perceive your most vibrant behaviours?
Why should you care about this?
Well as you surely know, people talk avidly about the things that deplete them. Indeed, many an evening’s meal can centre around bitching and moaning about matters of work. And you know people get hooked into the dramas of (tradable) tales, bonding through intense emotions. That’s how, as social animals, we roll. But do remember you can choose to bond over positive emotions too!
That’s not to say it’s not helpful to express your frustrations of the day, just don’t stay there! Don’t train your brain to feel comfortable in that stress zone, it prepares your auto pilot to seek more of the same.
Be proactive about engaging emotional states that serve your growth. Look for the positives in your life and design more positive spirals. The message in the Star Wars films is about igniting inner power and using it to grow a better world. Make your contribution count for good.
Balance time spent expressing pissy niggles, with time spent expressing excitement, wonderment, and gratitude.
Pattern on purpose – your brain likes patterns, why not choose to practise the upward spiral? Deliberately run a sequence of emotions from grotty to glowing e.g., feeling ‘argh, pah, meh, mmm, ahh’.
Emotions are contagious – beware of passively absorbing other people’s S**t. Instead, proactively share your best positivity.
Experiment with your personal power to calibrate how your vibrancy influences professional effectiveness and note how those around you respond to your glow-state.
Curate your own shiny audit of the subtle qualities of your peak performance state? And practise. Build a shinier auto-pilot.
Balance Body and Mind – how to do it!
Take ONE minute to bring yourself into physiological balance by sitting or standing as straight and tall as you can.
Straighten up through your mid-line and let your attention start at the top of your head and gently melt down through your spine to your tailbone. Are both shoulders as level as they can be? Look in a mirror to check the symmetry across your shoulders and collarbones.
Shift your body a little to bring balance to either side of your spine. Notice how it feels to tilt one shoulder or hip, and then re-balance.
Scan through your body for areas of softness and comfort, and rest in there for some moments.
Now shift attention to each of the following body parts in this order: head, shoulders, arms, hands, ribcage, spine, hips, thighs, knees, lower legs, ankles, feet.
Once balanced, your whole body and mind will work better.
Balancing your body helps you improve your emotional state, learning capability, and energy levels.
Have you ever found yourself saying to a colleague, something like ‘please read this report’ when what you really want to say is, ‘just read the (damn) report!’
You added the ‘please’ because you’re trying to find that balance between politeness and authority, but it still sounds like a request when you’d rather it was an instruction.
Adding the word please certainly keeps you in the polite zone, but it may not succinctly influence the receiver or truly enhance the effectiveness of your communication.
So how can you remain polite while sounding more authoritative?
Here are three quick wins for maximising face-to-face influence:
- Breathing from the diaphragm instantly makes you sound more confident by lower your vocal pitch.
- Ensure each message ends in a commanding downward inflection
- Use clear, illustrative gestures that mimic the request
Combine these to stack the odds of your influence, in your favour. And add this gem which quite literally has you minding your Ps and Qs by replacing ‘could you please read this report’ with ‘could you read this report (pause) thank you’.
By adding a ‘thank you’ at the end of that request, you’ve already got them thinking about having completed the polite request! Saying ‘thank you’ is a mind trick that suggests to the listening ear, completion is a certainty.
Top tip! It’s a playground out there, have fun experimenting with these skills for more effective communication!
September brought us the Equinox, marking a moment of ‘balance’ in our yearly calendar, with day and night available to us, in equal measure.
I guess you know when you’re (metaphorically) tipping out of balance, right? When it seems all that’s left is to give up or give over to some external authority on your wellbeing?
Balance is one of our key themes when working with the next generation, we want them to trust that they can always find it, know how to achieve it, and don’t need to rely on an external authority to do the re-balancing for them. We call this RESILIENCE.
We must teach resilience as an ‘inside job’ so the next generation learns how to self-adjust their personal wellbeing rather than defaulting to the notion that the solution, or the blame, lies elsewhere.
Sometimes in our work, we find parents and teachers don’t believe it is possible for young people to self-manage wayward thoughts and emotions and make it their priority to step in at the first hint of challenge. Fast forward to a generation of teenagers who never learned to hardwire the skills of ‘doing’ resilience i.e., falling over, picking self-up, reflecting on what to do differently next time, taking responsibility for the results in life and adjusting mindset/behaviours to meet new needs. Simply put, this is the process of learning and a far cry from our ‘woke’ generation who want to blame or change others. How have we forgotten our nature as exquisite learners?
And those parents and teachers who DO believe it is possible for young people to self-manage wayward thoughts and emotions, often just don’t know how to teach these skills. Thankfully we do.
This month’s Resilience Tip is to help children imagine their future self as buoyant and able to respond to and rebalance after any of life’s whirlwinds. Imagineering (as we call it) is nature’s way of formatting neural pathways into codes of possibility. That’s how we landed on the moon – someone had the idea first … It was an imagined possibility that eventually became tangible actions.
I vote for more seeding of great ideas inside the minds of our next generation. Imaginings of a flourishing future. We cannot thrive as a species if we continue to fill young people’s imaginations with fear and helplessness.
We all become what we repeatedly do, so why not help your child habituate resilience inside their mind’s eye and set a clear direction for their brains and bodies to follow?
We all deserve a thriving next generation, don’t we?