“STOP! In the Name of Love!” Using N.L.P to help my M.E / C.F.S

21 Mar
STOP your stress with NLP! Photo source: Flickr User Stuart Heath

STOP your stress with NLP! Photo source: Flickr User Stuart Heath

STOP…in the naaaaame of LOVE! Don’t ya just love the Supremes?!

This post is a little epic in length but I was keen to wrap up all my STRESS LESS posts before I fly to the US next week. NLP is the finale to where I’ve been going with all my STRESS LESS chatter over the last few weeks.  As always, please get in touch and tell me what you think.

SELF-AWARENESS

Self-awareness is the crucial first step to succeeding with NLP. I’ve found that with learning about and using the NLP techniques, I am more self-aware. I am now increasingly aware of the conditioned thought patterns, habits, responses and reactions that previously happened without me realizing, i.e. deep in my unconscious brain. I am now conscious of them and can spot when they happen. With awareness comes the opportunity to alter these conditioned responses. If you don’t notice your stressed thoughts and feelings in the first place then how are you meant to ‘reset’ them? It would be impossible! Once you start down the self-awareness road, the more you do it the easier it gets and the more self-aware you are. It becomes natural, instinctive, self-perpetuating, organic. You may not realize it’s happening but it is.

Some of the stressors that I am now aware of in myself and am trying to use NLP to STOP and reset are:

THOUGHTS:

  • SHOULD I go for a walk or will it make my ME / CFS symptoms worse (insert any activity)?
  • WHAT IF going to America is too much and it makes me relapse?
  • NEGATIVE I can’t do this.
  • DOUBTS I’m never going to get better.
  • I’m fat.
  • NEGATIVE BLACK & WHITE THINKING I’m such a failure, I’m useless I can’t even….
  • I have done too much computer today so my symptoms will be far worse tomorrow (again insert any activity).
  • SYMPTOMS I’m so tired / I’m in so much pain in my arms and upper body today (insert any symptom).
  • OTHERS’ EXPECTATIONS If I don’t do what mum/dad/Lou/Mr B suggested I’ll hurt their feelings, let them down.
  • WORRYING ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK OF ME.
  • Monkey mind/ busy mind.
  • CATASTROPHISING  I can’t get hold of Mr B, has he been in an accident? (More likely that he is just not answering his phone – why do males seem incapable of hearing a phone ring or vibrate!?)

BODY SENSATIONS & SYMPTOMS:

  • Heart racing
  • Shakyness
  • Butterflies in tummy
  • Tension in neck and shoulder
  • Fuzzy head
  • Myalgia pain
  • Fatigue
  • Aching
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Dizzy

FEELINGS & EMOTIONS:

  • Upset
  • Sad
  • Frustrated
  • Anxious
  • Annoyed
  • Fear

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. It is just some of what I am now more aware of; for which I am now consciously trying to reset my stress response.

Going back to the Test-Tube Analogy it’s not the thought, symptom or activity itself that is really the problem. The problem is the way my ME / CFS addled body and brain responds to such thoughts, symptoms or activities, i.e. by going into Stress Response Mode. NLP helps to correct this automatic conditioned stress response.

STOP

STOP M.E / C.F.S with N.L.P. Photo source Flickr User Joe Shlabotnik

STOP M.E / C.F.S with N.L.P. Photo source Flickr User Joe Shlabotnik

Once I am aware of the ‘stress’ (could be any of the above, for example thinking I have been typing this post for too long so my arms will hurt more than they already do) I need to STOP it. There are loads of different ways of doing this. I find visualizing a red STOP road sign works for me. I also shout STOP out loud (yes people may think I’m odd but I don’t care!) and put my hands out in front of me as if I were physically trying to stop something coming towards me.

POSITIVE ANCHOR

Replace stress with a positive happy memory. Photo source: Flickr User Emdot.

Replace stress with a positive happy memory. Photo source: Flickr User Emdot.

Next I need to give myself a positive association for the stressor to replace the negative image my brain has up to now associated with it.

So for the same example of typing making my arms hurt, I might imagine my arms feeling loose, light and relaxed both during, and after, typing. I imagine myself feeling good and smiling after I’ve finished typing.

Over time and with sufficient consistent application, my automatic response to typing won’t be my arms are going to really hurt, instead it will be to relax my arms and to feel loose and smiley. Well that’s my understanding of the NLP theory anyway!

Something else that I have noticed is that I tend to take on other people’s stress and moods. So for example, if my Mum seems to be hassled and stressed trying to get dinner on the table, I will start to feel stressed too. Same if my Dad seems a bit grumpy I start to feel anxious and ‘stressed’. In these circumstances I use NLP to set a positive image in my mind that I’m a separate person to my Mum or Dad, I visualise myself in a bubble or inside a giant egg, separate and protected from others’ moods and reactions.

This post has been a bit of a whirlwind tour of how I’m finding and using NLP. NLP is a really clever and nuanced approach and if you haven’t tried it yet and suffer with ME / CFS, I’d really recommend you look for an NLP therapist in your area. It doesn’t work for everyone and maybe it seems a bit strange but with the science and neurology behind it (see my earlier posts Make Up of a Stress Response if you want to know more about that) I really relate to the NLP approach.

IT IS NOT NOT NOT ALL IN MY HEAD

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again: ME / CFS is physical and very real illness. It is not ‘all in my head’. By finding NLP helpful, I am NOT saying that up to now I’ve been choosing to feel this ill nor am I making this illness up. ME / CFS is classified as a neurological condition by the World Health Organisation. It is a disease of the nervous system meaning my head is involved in the sense that my brain is involved. But how can I be ‘making it up’ when I was not even aware until recently that what was going on in my unconscious brain was contributing to the physical symptoms? And now I am aware I am doing everything possible to try and rewire and reset these things so as to cut off the physical symptoms? These naysayers who say that ‘it is all in our heads’ really annoy me, let them suffer for a day with the myalgia pain and crushing fatigue I have and then see what they say. And breathe….

I know stress is a problem for me and I am keen to see if by improving how stress and I relate to each other, my ME / CFS symptoms will improve too.  I’ll keep you posted on how I go.

Have you tried NLP? Do you use NLP to help your ME / CFS? What is your experience? Please do get in touch I’d really like to know how others have found NLP for recovery from ME / CFS. Comment below or email me at myjourneythrume@yahoo.com.

Check out my other STRESS LESS Posts here: My Stress Less Strategy

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5 Responses to ““STOP! In the Name of Love!” Using N.L.P to help my M.E / C.F.S”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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