When the mornings and the evenings are darker and the temperature gets colder, for some of us it’s harder to keep up our positivity and motivation.
This got me thinking about how NLP (neuro linguistic programming) can influence our feelings and how we often fall victim to learned behaviour that in actual fact no longer serves us or is at best unhelpful.
Why can’t I feel more motivated when its darker and colder, instead of more sluggish?
The answer to this, in part, lies in the brain – our complex human mind. Read on if you want to know what I mean.
The mind is made up of our conscious, subconscious and unconscious. The unconscious constantly communicates with the conscious mind via our subconscious, this is what provides us with the meaning to all our interactions with the world, as filtered through our beliefs and habits. It communicates through feelings, emotions, imagination, sensations, and dreams.
How our brain works
The following may help to clarify the concept of how the three minds work a little more.
If you imagine your mind is like a computer (it’s not but it’s a good analogy)…
Your conscious mind is best represented by the keyboard and monitor. Data is inputted on the keyboard and the results are thrown up on the monitor screen. That is how your conscious mind works – information is taken in via some outside (or internal) stimulus from your environment and the results are thrown up instantaneously into your consciousness.
Your subconscious is like the RAM in your computer. For those who don’t know, RAM is the place in a computer where programs and data that are currently in use are kept so they can easily be reached quickly by the computer processor. It is much faster than other types of memory, such as the hard disk or a memory stick.
Your subconscious works in the same way. Any recent memories are stored there for quick recall when needed, such as what your telephone number is or the name of a person you just met. It also holds your current programs that you run every day, such as your current recurring thoughts, behaviour patterns, habits, and feelings.
Your unconscious is like the hard disk drive in your computer. It is the long term storage place for all your memories and programs that have been installed since birth.
Your unconscious mind (and ultimately your subconscious mind) then uses these programs to make sense of all the data you receive from the world and to keep you safe and ensure your survival.
The logic of these two minds is that if it worked in the past and you survived, then it will help you get through similar situations by the same means, no matter how misguided, or unhelpful the results may be to you personally in the outside world. For example, if you learned as a child that winter meant cold in the house, being kept in & not being allowed to play outside with your mates, then you may associate winter with feelings of cold and personal isolation. This means you are unlikely to see the leaves falling on the ground and the daylight shortening as a good thing. It’s natural that you might feel a bit down and demotivated. However, that may not be the case now, your house may be warm and you may love playing footie with your mates during winter – so reframing and associating good experiences with winter can change how you feel about the change of the seasons. After all we are the ones who determine how we feel, not something that happened in the past & certainly not the weather! However its our unconscious that is the source of many of our feelings, so making these feelings conscious and choosing to feel and think differently is very powerful.
Bring on winter I say - I am remembering and looking forward to some great red wines and cozy nights in…… this makes me feel much happier and more accepting of the early nights!
What we think changes what we feel, so choose what you think wisely.
Written by June Parker, Director Selection Partners. June is a career and executive coach, she is also a master practitioner in NLP, which comes in useful when working with the mindsets of her clients.