'Stateology' - The science of change part one

March 25, 2015


Stateology is a term I give to the understanding of states and how we change them.  In many ways this is the essence of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and some uses of Hypnotherapy. We all drift between different states all of the time such as relaxed, daydreaming, anxious, aroused or stressed. Often we are not aware of these transitions or what causes them but simply 'respond' to how we're 'feeling' at that moment in time. So, for example, we can all relate to the feeling of 'relaxation', being relaxed. If you were to consider this feeling of relaxation and what it means to you, you may think back to a time when you were relaxed. You may get an image in your mind about that time and what was happening, you may imagine yourself in that situation again, in detail and you may allow yourself to feel yourself becoming more calm and relaxed as you focus on that time. You've changed state.


So what is a 'state'. In my mind a state is a unique recipe associated with certain events or triggers.  The recipe is made up of a  number of 'ingredients', of visual, auditory (sounds), Kinesthetics (feelings) and olfactory (smell) elements that combine together to give a unique experience to the specific event or trigger.  The event maybe daydreaming, driving, a presentation or test, an exam, the morning school run, intimacy and so on. The interesting thing being that the state can often be triggered only by a recollection of the event.


So, for example, if you think about the last time you were really anxious about something you may get an image in your head, it maybe a colour image or black and white, moving or still etc.  You may also have associated sounds, such as the sounds of other people, the surroundings or self talk. There will also be strong kinesthetics such as a feeling in the chest or stomach, a tightening maybe or a knot, you may also have faster breathing, raised heart rate, a clamminess. They are all the ingredients, sometime referred to as 'modalities' that combine to create the recipe of anxiety triggered by the specifc event or thought of the event. Whilst there are common elements, it will be unique to you.


Now, 'State' changes when you think about it are at the heart of many issues and problems - such as phobias, anxiety, stress, low mood, low self-esteem. They can be very strong and persistent feelings. And the primary reason that they cause us difficulties is because we don't understand them and feel controlled and overwhelmed by them. that's why we often identify with them and they begin to define us 'I'm phobic', 'I'm anxious', 'I'm depressed'. Rather than, 'I'm depressing', 'I'm being anxious'.


One of the great things about NLP and Hypnotherapy is that it helps us to have a detailed understanding of our unique states, what triggers them and how to change them. It's a process. An understandable process and one that we can change.


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