We all face challenges in our lives: stress, anxiety, difficult situations at work or in school. Quite often we don’t have a coach or a hypnotherapist to help us go through these challenges. In such cases you can do this simple exercise. It takes only 20 minutes to complete and the results can be quite remarkable.
The exercise was originally developed by John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St. Clair and is described in their book “Whispering in the wind”.
The idea behind this exercise is that our behavior is controled by our state, which in turn is controled by our physiology. If we change our state, we can change our behavior. Some states are generally considered “good”:
- when you play a game that requires quick reactions, such as basketball or tennis,
- when you laugh with your friends,
- when you read an interesting book that will help you become a better person.
All the above states have something in common: you stay in the present moment with your attention directed outside, you enjoy the activity, there’s a sense of “flow”.
On the other hand, there are states that are usually considered “bad”:
- when you have anxiety about something coming up,
- when you think too much about something bad that happenned in the past, for example, someone made a nasty remark to you and each time you think about this person, you go – What a jerk!
Unlike in “positive” states, in “negative” states usually people are not in the present moment, they have less choices, they seem to be stuck with their bad feelings.
The goal of the following exercise is to bring “positive” states into situations where you usually feel “bad”.
And here are the steps:
- Select a situation in your life that you wish to change.
To do that imagine a circle on the floor 6 feet in front of you. See the image and hear the sounds of yourself in that situation from an outside perspective. It’s as if you were a detached observer.
- Step into the imaginary circle and relive the situation.
See what you saw, hear what you heard, feel what you felt. Please resist any attempt to find a solution or change anything. Just relive the situation as it is for 15-30 seconds and then step out of the circle.
Shake your body, arms and legs for 10-20 seconds to switch your state and your physiology.
- Optimize your state.
Now comes the fun part. We will be playing special games to optimize our physiology and our state.
Here are several examples of such games:
If you are a beginner, watch this short video.
If that’s too easy, you can learn more complex juggling patterns or juggle while standing on one leg on a skateboard:
b) playing on a musical instrument
c) polyrhythm exercises, like 2-over-3. It’s when one hand taps 2 beats, and the other 3 beats:
If it’s too easy, learn 3-over-4:
You can also check this page where you can practice polyrhythms online.
Note several things about these games:
- you use all your senses: your eyes, your ears and your sense of touch,
- you engage both sides of your body and stimulate both hemispheres of your brain,
- there’s a certain rhythm to the game.
Obviously, you need to choose an activity that suits your level – not too easy and not too hard. Most likely you will notice a measurable progress in your performance: when you jugggle the balls stay in the air longer, your C-major scale sounds fantastic, etc.
Usually it takes 10-15 minutes to get into the right state, sometimes a bit longer. Note that the goal of this game is not to play faster or more accurately, the goal is to get into the right state.
You may ask – alright, Timur, so what is the “right” state then?
If you play the game correctly, at some point you will notice that:
a) there’s less excessive tension in your body, your posture gets better, there’s more flow in your movements
b) you feel more energized and self-confident
c) you feel enthusiastic about the game
d) you are more positive about your “mistakes” (such as ball drop)
e) you are more open and ready to whatever may happen during the game
You will have to learn how to detect the above positive shifts in your body. As soon as you feel that you reached the right state, immediately go to the next step.
- Step into the imaginary circle in an optimized state.
Stay in the circle for 30-60 seconds and allow this new state to reconnect with the old situation.
Just as before do not attempt to find a solution or change anything consciously. The changes will happen automatically next time you will find yourself in the same situation.
This exercise works beautifully for different types of problems. And I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.
In case you need support for optimizing your state, please feel free to book an appointment.