With any emotional problems whether it’s lack of confidence, anxiety, frustration or helplessness we humans love to know why we are like the way we are.

Why do we want to know why?

We want to know why it started. We want to know what caused our problems. I was the same with shyness when I was younger. I always wanted to know why I was ‘shy’. Maybe I was just always quiet. Perhaps it was because adults used to call me “shy”, or ignored me when I wanted to speak, and because of this I became shy.

Just have a think from your life for a moment, about a challenge you are facing now. How much are you interested in why it all started? Keep this challenge in mind. You will need it later on this post…

Going back to ‘why’ has the potential to bring back painful stories and theorising about events and situations.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe there is some merit in knowing ‘why’, as long as it is used to go back into the past and do some healing work. Time Line Therapy is an example of a set of techniques that can be used to do this.

However, it’s useful to keep in mind that if this doesn’t work, it might be worth looking into ‘how’.

And now it’s time for the how

What I’ve learnt over the years, and this probably has a lot of do with my NLP background, is that there is real opportunity to make improvements in your life, by making changes to how you are creating your experiences – change the experience and change how you feel!

Some ideas and questions to help you use the ‘how’ to make changes

Below are some tips to help you use the ‘how’ to get over your problems:

1. Using that challenge you thought about earlier, what exactly are you thinking about this problem? Get a picture of it in your mind. Is the picture about it in colour? If this is the case, then this is how you are representing the thought at the moment.

Now, change the thought. Play around with its features. If it’s in colour, change it to black and white and vice versa. If there is someone with a hurtful voice in the picture, turn his/her volume down.

Does that make difference? Perhaps pushing the thought way in the distance makes you feel better? If so, you have just changed how you think about this challenge!

2. In you are feeling inadequate in a particular situation; try on the opposite frame of mind for a moment. What would it be like if you felt totally adequate? What would you be doing differently in the situation? How would you be behaving?

What would you be seeing, hearing and feeling?

If doing this doesn’t feel quite right, just give yourself permission to change your attitude to this situation. You’re experimenting and trying something different.

3. If someone has been ‘making’ you frustrated or angry or hurt, then notice how this works. Someone says something and you respond the same way every time. Don’t you have a say in how you can respond? Or course you do. It’s your mind. It’s your body. You can choose to react in any way you like.

Let’s say a particular individual is always mouthing off and this gets on ‘your nerves’. Next time you speak to the person, make a conscious decision to react differently. The other person can say all they want. You can react by keeping a balanced state of mind. Hey, you can even respond by staying cool and telling yourself “how this poor person is having so many bad days lately”.

Remember, we humans love to know ‘why’. It’s interesting. It’s about content and stories. But if ‘why’ is getting you down and you find yourself staying down, don’t forget the ‘how’.

There is real opportunity for you to make changes with the ‘how’.

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