Keep Things in Perspective with Submodality Shifts

Submodality ShiftsDo you ever feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of things such as an upcoming event?

Have you ever asked yourself what is that is making me feel overwhelmed? Is it the number of things that have to be done? Is it attending the event itself?

The way you see the images when thinking about the event are the submodalities. By using submodality shifts you can adjust the way the event makes you feel to keep it in perspective.

What are Submodality Shifts?

First, let’s start with modalities. Modalities are three of the five senses – visual, auditory, kinesthetic.  We use these senses when we think about an event. How we see feel, and/or hear them internally are the submodalities. Here is an example of how a submodality shift works:

As the practitioner, I say, “So, you seem overwhelmed when talking about the event you are planning. Can you describe what you see in your head when you think about the event?”

A person might then say, “I just see a bunch of things piled to the ceiling in a room. That makes me feel overwhelmed!”

I might say, “That would feel overwhelming. What specifically are those ‘things’.”

The person might say,”They are boxes.”

I say, “Okay. What is in the boxes?”

The person says,”Each thing I have to do for the event.”

I say, “What if you unstack the boxes and put them in a straight line in front of you going all the way to the event day? Each box is directly in back of one in front of it. So, all you can see is the one in front. Can you visually do that?”

The person says,”I see the first box in front of me.”

I say, “How big is it?”

They say, “It’s taller than me.”

I say, “Make is smaller so it’s about half your height. Now open the first box. Take a piece of paper out of it that is the first thing you need to do for the event.”

They say, “Research caterers.”

I say,”That is the only box you will open. The others will stay closed until you can throw that box away. Once you throw that box away, you can open another.”

I say,”How are you feeling now? Relaxed or overwhelmed?”

So, I did a few things to shift their submodality from creating overwhelm to a more relaxed state when thinking about the upcoming event. I used submodality shifts by having them:

  1. Describe what internal visual they saw when thinking about the feeling/event.
  2. Order the boxes into a straight line going out into the future.
  3. Shrinking the size of the boxes to a non-threatening size.
  4. Opening one at a time and taking a small piece of paper with the task written on it, out of the box.
  5. Not opening the next box until the task was complete.

This is an example of how to shift our perspective by visually adjusting the way we internally see something. You can practice this technique when you are daunted by a big task.

Learn more about working with Submodalities

Neuro Linguistic Programming focuses heavily on submodalities. A good NLP Training can teach you many techniques and models to create big change in your life and those around you. Check it out!


Self-Sabotage OR Stealth-Sabotage?

by Hannah Rowanwood

It’s rather ironic.

Here I was studying the A-H-A model of self-sabotage for my NLP Life Coaching certification and feeling… perhaps not smug exactly, but certainly pleased with myself for having left all of that attachment stuff behind me.

I spent some time easily identifying several attachment types that had defined me in the past.  Martyr?  Check.  Numb?  Check. People Pleaser?  Yep, definite check.  Next, I had fun identifying those that seemed to fit various people I know (funny how it’s always so much easier to identify patterns in others than in ourselves).

That evening, after baking a batch of cookies and eating half of them in one sitting (did I mention I had quit sugar?), I sat down to do some writing.  Instead, I ended up watching another movie.  I say another because I had watched one the evening before, breaking my personal discipline rule of one movie night per week.

Afterwards, feeling enormously guilty and disappointed in myself, I pushed aside those unpleasant feelings by playing solitaire on the laptop for an hour – another broken rule.  Finally, I went upstairs to bed, feeling horrible, and tossed and turned for much of the night.

The next day, feeling tired and cranky from the post-cookie crash and lack of sleep, I moped about, delaying getting my studies underway.  I puttered on with other meaningless tasks, grazing on cookies to get my energy levels back up, knowing full well that I should have been eating all those vegetables languishing in my fridge.  I opened my laptop to write, but couldn’t seem to concentrate through the sugar fog, and instead spent the next two hours scrolling mindlessly through emails and blog posts.

All day I had the feeling of wanting something, but of not being able to identify what it was. That night, I lay awake in bed feeling… empty.  Unsatisfied.  Disappointed.

And then it dawned on me.  An A-H-A moment.  I was in the grips of self-sabotage, and hadn’t seen it!   After an incredible period of self-discipline and the resulting wonderful personal growth, motivation and great health it created, I had begun to slide back into old habits of distracting, numbing, and procrastinating.

My mind’s dusty old attachment to feeling deprived had seen the wonderful progress I was making, had noticed the creeping feelings of fulfillment and satisfaction, had detected my growing sense of purpose, and didn’t like it one bit.

These new feelings, though wonderful, were unfamiliar territory, and awakened a sense of discomfort and longing for something more familiar, even if that something would have eventually prevented me from reaching my goals and attaining my dreams.  In fact, especially because it would do just that.

An attachment to deprivation wants us to experience cravings, longings, guilt, dissatisfaction, emptiness, and lack of fulfillment.  In my case, what better way to accomplish all of that than to sabotage myself from eating well & enjoying good health, completing my NLP program, finding my purpose, and generally feeling great about myself?

The good news is that as soon as I realized what was happening and was able to name the thing I was craving (feeling deprived), the energy behind the attachment immediately lost much of its strength.  Simply bringing awareness to the self-sabotage pattern loosened the grip of the attachment, and allowed me to dissociate from it enough to be able to look at it objectively.

I can look back now and see how this pattern has woven through my life and my decisions, even determining the type of food I chose to indulge in!  I see now that my struggle with sugar mirrors the deprivation attachment pattern perfectly; what other food is so perfectly suited to feeling guilty, unsatisfied, & wanting more?

These deep-rooted attachments, formed most commonly in childhood, can be so challenging to our personal growth precisely because they act behind the scenes, unconsciously driving our thoughts, feelings and behaviors in ways that sabotage our best intentions and loftiest dreams.  But they can be identified and overcome with willingness, awareness and some keen investigative skills.

When looking to identify an unhealthy attachment in yourself or a client, don’t worry about trying to untangle and decipher all of the different behaviors or habits.  Simply look for the end result of that familiar, unwanted (and usually unpleasant) feeling, and work your way back.

And maybe follow the cookie crumbs…