How to shake off the blues and get control of your life in 2017

Terry McCoy, founder of Liverpool-based the NLP Works offers an invaluable guide to change the way you think, break the cycle of negativity and achieve your personal and professional goals.

Terry McCoy, founder of the NLP Works
Terry McCoy, founder of the NLP Works

Feeling low right now? You’re not alone – the weeks after Christmas are renowned for bringing down our mood.

There’s the stress of having overeaten and overspent and and gentle warmth and positivity of spring still feels a long way off.

But what if you could train yourself to change the way you think so instead of situations dictating how you feel, you’re in control? 

As a certified NLP trainer, coach, and mindfulness teacher and founder of The NLP Works I have spent my working life helping people do just that.

A former sales and marketing professional since 1987, it was my interest in what make people tick which prompted me to explore personal development more thoroughly.

I had used NLP principles to write press releases and advertising copy for health clubs and beauty salons and enjoyed some pretty good results. So I launched The NLP Works in 2003 and has been helping people to control their thinking ever since. 

What is NLP?

“Neuro-linguistic programming, to give it its full title is a methodology, a way of training the brain to help you to break bad habits and replace them with habits that are more useful.

It’s particularly effective in business where negative thinking and poor communication can impact a person’s ability to perform. NLP training can help employees – and employers – to achieve their full potential and not be held back by unhelpful ways of thinking.

Modern working life can bring many pressures and demands, says Terry
Modern working life can bring many pressures and demands, says Terry

The stresses of working life are a big contributing factor to anxiety disorders. According to Anxiety UK more than one in 10 people have an anxiety disorder that seriously impacts their day to day life. 

There`s so much pressure on people today to do more, to have more, to desire more. It`s relentless. I have to earn more money. I must have the latest gadget. I should be a certain way or I am somehow deficient in some way. It never stops for some people.

Wandering thoughts

As a rule of thumb – remember stress and anxiety are due to thoughts.

Right now we are having a conversation. If we are paying full attention to our experience there is generally no anxiety but if your attention starts to wander and you start thinking ‘I have a deadline later today and I’m not going to make it, I`ll get into trouble’.

Or perhaps you start replaying the argument you had with your partner this morning – then you are no longer present – you are time travelling into the future and the past.

They are just thoughts but because of your relationship to those thoughts you experience  a state we call anxiety. Paying attention and being present forms the basis of a process called mindfulness and is clinically proven to reduce stress and anxiety.  

Being in the present

Mindfulness is the practice of paying non-judgemental attention to your present moment experience.

In order to have anxiety we generally have to anticipate an undesirable event or events in the future that may or may not happen, and/or replay a past unpleasant memory.

Neither exist in the here and now but your nervous system acts as though they do. For example, someone who has a fear of public speaking may think about an upcoming event where they may have to address a large group.

Being 'in the moment' can be key to conquering anxiety
Being ‘in the moment’ can be key to conquering anxiety

They may feel ‘anxious’ when they think about the upcoming event and rehash a past event where he gave a talk and it didn’t go as well as they would have liked. If we learn to stay in the here and now we can drastically reduce or even remove that anxiety.

In order to help people in business stop this negative thinking and anxiety I have launched The Business Brain in the North West, a series of six one day courses delivered over a flexible period.

The right goals

The start of the year usually means setting goals and making resolutions and then feeling even worse when you break them. How can you break that cycle?

Make sure your goals are your own and not someone else’s. I have worked with a number of people who have told me they lack motivation to reach a particular goal, on further exploration we found that the goals were not actually theirs but rather what they thought they should want or be striving for. 

Ask yourself who wants this? Is it your goal or something you think you should want? If it’s not your goal based on what`s important to you then why are you doing it?

And don`t get too attached to the end result. Enjoy the process of working toward to the goal.

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