Is “It” a Thing or a Process?

What I mean by “it” is the thing I am referring to and what, I hear you cry, is the thing?

This is the third piece about some part, in explanation, of my book, Mutual Mindfulness:

I have been listening to a lot of Podcasts recently or since there was a break in to my car, which was broken into and my car radio stolen, a theft had occurred. I suppose I could say that the benefit of that theft was I got into Podcasts and haven’t yet got a replacement radio.

Anyway I was listening to a Podcast today about Mental Health and the lack of Mental Health, whatever that looks or feels like. What got my attention was the constant use of Nominalisations in peoples language.

Now NLP has a model of language called the Meta Model and this is useful for recovering and challenging the Deletions, Distortions and Generalisations that we all use all the time in our language.

It is not a problem using these linguistic patterns except when it is. For instance Nominalisations are words we use, for convenience, that label and fix ongoing processes into events. Listening to the Podcast I noticed how people talk about their Depression or their Anxiety and Stress as if they are things, something they have got and there is nothing they can do about it. Very disempowering.

You can’t go out and buy some Depression, Anxiety or Stress. They don’t exist as things but rather they are ongoing processes. We are feeling depressed, anxious or stressed and something is going on to cause those feelings so as soon as we can discover what it is that is causing you to have those feelings you can begin to make some adjustments or adjust what you are doing to feel that way.

For example instead of talking about your Depression ask yourself what is going on to cause you to feel depressed or what is depressing you. Asking this question will put you into a process, something you can change and when you change your thinking like this, you will change how you feel.

Sound too simple? Well why not give it a try. Ask yourself what is depressing you and you can then do something different.

Remember the presupposition: “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get the same result, therefore do something different.”

Thinking about the “things” that are having a negative effect on us and turning them into ongoing processes in our language will empower you to begin to deal with what was previously a limitation, what was limiting you.

Another big one is anxiety. Maybe we think of something that causes us to have a negative feeling. and we then continue to think about the situation and once again experience a negative feeling.

We can also introduce some internal talk about how terrible this situation is and then get an even stronger negative feeling. We can loop this internal strategy around and around building a stronger and stronger negative feeling.

The strategy goes: Think of something that makes you feel anxious, tell yourself how bad that is or will be and get the negative feeling. Loop this strategy around and around and get an even stronger bad feeling.

This is the structure of anxiety and you can see how it works in successfully creating the feeling we call anxiety. You can also see that by asking ourselves what is causing us to feel this way we have turned the fixed thing into a process and we can then begin to change the internal structure.

Of course we do have things in our lives that cause us to be anxious and worry but simply by asking what is causing us to feel anxious we can do something about it. After all who is running your brain?

The word anxiety is a nominalisation, a fixed label. Turn it back into an ongoing process by asking what is causing you to feel anxious and then change the internal pictures of “disaster”, change the tone of the internal voice so it is friendly and encouraging and you will then begin to experience more pleasant and useful feelings.

Apparently public speaking of any kind whether it is to large or small groups is the number one fear that people have. We can use the above strategy to deal with feeling nervous along with visualisation, the process of seeing ourselves succeeding.

I intend to write about how to deal with public speaking in my next blog so you can learn to enjoy looking forward to doing it.