jimmydasaint

NLP and Positive Thinking - Is This Nonsense?

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I have been taking some interest lately in NLP - neurolinguistic programming and positive thinking in order to counteract a pretty screwed-up childhood, the memories of which I have suppressed for a while. I reckon, I am relatively sane and mature but I have to change the script that runs through my head and keeps me condemning myself whenever I make a mistake.

 

Now I consider that there is no easy solution to this problem, no short-cuts and no simple acrostics that can turn it all around, but .... I am tempted to read these easy-fix websites which can turn you into a millionaire (mostly by selling books on quick-fix solutions) and solve all your problems with a few tips.

 

Question is, is there a scientific basis for NLP and Positive Thinking? Is it related to the placebo effect or are there actually new neural 'highways' set up in the brain as the internal script changes. Any (positive) thoughts?

 

http://www.nlp-now.co.uk/tips-n-tech.htm

 

http://www.successconsciousness.com/index_000050.htm

 

http://www.healtalk.com/public/10.shtml

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Question is, is there a scientific basis for NLP and Positive Thinking? Is it related to the placebo effect or are there actually new neural 'highways' set up in the brain as the internal script changes. Any (positive) thoughts?

 

]

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity

Edited by StringJunky

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What you're basically doing is self-directed cognitive behavioral therapy (or just cognitive therapy), and yes... It absolutely has an impact. Now, I'd caution you against the woo and nonsense, but consciously refocusing your response and reactions to things can and does have a very real impact.

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_behavioral_therapy

Cognitive therapy seeks to help the patient overcome difficulties by identifying and changing dysfunctional thinking, behavior, and emotional responses. This involves helping patients develop skills for modifying beliefs, identifying distorted thinking, relating to others in different ways, and changing behaviors. Treatment is based on collaboration between patient and therapist and on testing beliefs. Therapy may consist of testing the assumptions which one makes and identifying how certain of one's usually-unquestioned thoughts are distorted, unrealistic and unhelpful. Once those thoughts have been challenged, one's feelings about the subject matter of those thoughts are more easily subject to change. Beck initially focused on depression and developed a list of "errors" in thinking that he proposed could maintain depression, including arbitrary inference, selective abstraction, over-generalization, and magnification (of negatives) and minimization (of positives).

 

A simple example may illustrate the principle of how CT works: having made a mistake at work, a person may believe, "I'm useless and can't do anything right at work." Strongly believing this then tends to worsen his mood. The problem may be worsened further if the individual reacts by avoiding activities and then behaviorally confirming the negative belief to himself. As a result, any adaptive response and further constructive consequences become unlikely, which reinforces the original belief of being "useless". In therapy, the latter example could be identified as a self-fulfilling prophecy or "problem cycle", and the efforts of the therapist and client would be directed at working together to change it. This is done by addressing the way the client thinks and behaves in response to similar situations and by developing more flexible ways to think and respond, including reducing the avoidance of activities. If, as a result, the patient escapes the negative thought patterns and dysfunctional behaviors, the negative feelings may be relieved over time.

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Thank you for the replies and links guys - this is interesting reading. I used to be a perfectionist and, naturally, became paranoid about making mistakes of any kind. However, I have learned to turn it around a little by assuming that people are not perfect and are prone to making mistakes and procrastination. This came from the 'One Minute Manager' series that I came across accidentally, and which made a bit of sense. I also turned around negative emotions by setting off another script in my head. Instead of thinking: "Can't I get ANYTHING right?!", the replacement script says: "OK, I messed up but I can learn and improve."

 

This does help my situation because I am trying to re-train the brain away from the danger of perfectionism. Luckily I am not an air traffic controller, but I can accept mistakes from myself and do not, normally, beat myself up mentally for days on end.

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Rather than completely deny your sense of perfectionism any form of expression why not allow only one or two forms of activity of your choosing where it is permissible and be content with 99% for the rest of your activities...it's ok for most things to be just ok and not unblemished. The trouble with perfectionism is that it takes an inordinately disproportionate amount of personal effort to get that last one per cent all the time with all things.

 

You might have more continued success this way and have the one or two tangible focal points where the quality really matters without it engulfing all of your activities and constantly lowering your self esteem because you are asking the impossible of yourself...to be without flaw in everything that you do.

 

You need to keep practicing this way of thinking and acting for a while before those neural highways get formed that will allow you to do this automatically. ;)

Edited by StringJunky

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