In 2020, our brains, souls, and bodies were put on a stern test. COVID-19 has brought countries, economies, and, most importantly, humans from driving full-throttle in 6th gear into reverse.
While a few could cope with the new situation, many people feel insecure, frightened, and don’t know what to do with their fears.
For many teachers, such as the NLP-expert Tony Robbins or Marc A. Pletzer, fear is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a behavior that protects you from bad experiences.
You probably know the term: a burned child avoids the fire. Therefore, fears are a good thing as they can protect you from something that could harm you.
But the strange thing is — people overestimate the quantity and quality of dangerous situations out there that require this behavior.
Nevertheless, speaking about fears won’t help to reduce them. You probably heard of people trying to show close-ones that, e.g., a spider or snake is nothing to be afraid of, by getting these feared people close to these creatures. Unfortunately, they couldn’t listen as they were in deep shock by the mere sight of it.
I believe that guiding people through their deepest fears is just one way to solve the issue. But when tried by you, it could damage the relationship with this person or even with yourself.
In my view, the preferable way is to change the underlying beliefs or the subconsciousness of the recipients. The first thing to do is to recognize that fears are present. Afterward, you can use the following NLP-techniques to change the beliefs.
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is one way to achieve specific goals in your life by using neurological processes (neuro-), language (linguistic), and behavioral patterns obtained through doing (programming). Please keep in mind that this is a model and only one way to reduce fears.
#1. change the images in the minds.
My nephew feared going down the slide on a children’s playground. I asked him what he sees when standing up on top of the slide.
As kids, it is relatively easy to explain the movies in their heads. They have constant access to a vast movie library.
Therefore, he explained that he would begin to slide and would then see himself going full speed without the possibility to stop.
And before he would land, he would see himself at the top again. He felt like being stuck to a bungee rope pulling him back again. During this time, he would hear himself screaming.
With these images in my head, I wouldn’t slide either.
I asked him what would happen if he changes the movie into something charming — like landing in a basket full of plastic balls. And during this victorious run, he could hear his friends cheering for him.
He began to smile, and we continued to add more encouraging aspects to his new movie.
- When asking people about their fears, they (often) can describe the situations (translated into movies) quite vividly.
- Their brains only produce these movies. They might have experienced one bad situation and generalize it to all other possible dangerous situations.
- By asking them questions, they will start to challenge their belief system.
- Your task is to change these images by guiding them through a relaxing process and adding the needed strengths (e.g., cheering friends and landing softly) to the situations.
- Continue to improve the movie until it is pleasant enough for your coachee (or yourself).
- This technique is best used for “minor” fears, such as spiders or snakes.
#2. go to the cinema.
A good friend of mine had a diffuse feeling of fear within himself. He could not explain the movies in his head but was frightened about it.
The best thing to do is to go to the cinema, I told him. And that is what we did. I asked him the following questions:
- Where do you preferably sit? In the last rows, or more towards the front?
He answered that he would like to sit in the last rows.
- What is your favorite snack at the cinema?
He answered that he liked salty popcorn.
Therefore, I arranged the following setup in his head. He should imagine sitting in the back of a cinema with his salty popcorn.
The next thing to do was to leave his body in his mind and move towards the projector-room. From there, he should look down on his body sitting in the last row.
Afterward, he should put his fingers on the glass of the projector-room.
At this point, the movie starts — with the classical 5–4–3–2–1 — up to the point where he usually would feel his diffuse fears.
The movie would then jump back to the 5, and a small duck would appear at the bottom of the 5.
The only question I asked him then was: “what type of underwear does the duck wear?”
- You want to set up a comfy atmosphere (for all techniques).
- You sit next to your coachee, or you can do it alone.
- You ask all these questions to set up the scene as if the coachee or yourself is in a cinema.
- The above-described sequence is mandatory as it will enable a dissociation of the person from the situation. By stopping right before the fears, the person does not have to go through the concern again. Instead, the only thing that will come up to her or his mind will be a small duck.
- This technique is best used for any fear, as the fear does not appear — you change the movie before the actual situation.
#3. sit on a swing in the universe.
My sister was in deep fear after having seen a car accident. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but the pictures were frightening.
I asked her if she would take a ride on a swing with me.
She grinned bitterly and mentioned that it would be too cold to go outside. I smiled back and added that this swing would only exist in our imagination.
She nodded, and we sat on two higher seats with our feet hanging loosely. I began to explain the situation:
- Please close your eyes, and imagine sitting on a swing that is situated in the universe.
- And while we both are swinging, we can see down on the earth.
- We can only see the vast continents, and, of course, the Great Chinese Wall (add some details to intensify the experience!).
- And I then asked her the following: “From above here — can you see who small the humans are? They are barely seeable. Speaking about seeing something — can you see the situation that happened today?”
Afterward, I moved her attention to more beautiful details like dolphins in the sea or small apes hanging in the trees. Everything is allowed as it is only imagined.
- When people are in shock, the best thing to do is dissociate them by looking at the situation.
- One easy way to do it is by using the swing in the universe.
- Use some extra details to help yourself or your coachee to increase the level of dissociation.
- This technique is best used for “intense” fears or to overcome shocking events.
As Tony Robbins mentioned:
“Stay committed to your decisions, but be flexible about the approaches.”
The techniques might sound interesting to you, which is the most important thing about them besides working if applied correctly.
Try them as often as you can, and keep on practicing them, as it can help you and your surroundings overcome certain types of fears.
And as always — please enjoy the ride!