The worst lie that we could ever convince ourselves is that we are not in control over our own minds. Sure, environmental stressors and chemical imbalances can play a role in our experience. However, ultimately our experiences are subjective and dictated by how we choose (maybe unconsciously) to perceive our world. If I haven’t lost you by now, here’s the main point I’m trying to get at: If we can change our perception of an idea, we immediately change the way it impacts us.
I wanted to share with you a quick exercise for changing your experience of something on the spot. This is a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) technique for taking control over an idea. Dr. Richard Bandler once stated that a Hindu prayer inspired this exercise. This technique works for relieving any negative emotion, thought, idea, or even physical pain. I simply call it the Color Spin exercise, and it probably won’t take 5 minutes of your time to execute.
The Color Spin
Step 1: Identify and Measure the Issue
Before you can take care of a problem, you must identify it. Start by asking yourself what is bothering you, whether it is an idea, an emotion, or a pain. Then, you want your subjective experience of that problem to become objective in your mind. Once you are able to experience something objectively, it becomes easier to take control over it. Start this by closing your eyes and taking a few deep and slow breaths. Work to really get a since for how intensely that problem may be presenting. Then, measure the issue on a scale of 0 to 10. For example: If you are feeling anxious, have 0 represent a completely calm and comfortable state and 10 represent a full-blown panic attack. Identify where you may sit on the spectrum. When I’m helping someone do this, if they say they are a 6, I’ll ask them if they could let that feeling intensify to a 7. That way, they are already learning to control that experience.
Step 2: Expand the Experience
This is a continuation of objectifying your problem. While it’s easy to remember where we experience physical pain, we often forget that we feel emotional pain and stress in our bodies as well. After you have Measured the Issue, do a quick body scan as you allow your mind to focus on what is bothering you. Take a minute to figure out where you are holding that stress in your body. Where is that discomfort the strongest? Does it burn, ache, or sting? Don’t just limit your experience to the kinesthetic though. Does it have a sound or vibration? It’s really important that you find a color to describe that issue.
Step 3: Remove it From You
This may be the most important part. Once you have been able to fully objectify the negative experience, take a deep breath and imagine all of that negative color you’re holding in your body leaving your with your breath as you exhale. You may even want to imagine you can take that negative feeling out with your hands if you’d like. Either way, make sure you get it all out, and imagine that negative energy collecting in front of your face.
Step 4: Control and Manipulate
Now, of course that negative energy is alive and active. So as it collects and spins in front of you, notice what direction it is spinning. Here’s the fun part: You can control the way that negative color spins. So since you want to go from a negative experience to a positive experience, reverse the direction of the spin and in doing so reverse the emotion. Now notice how as soon as that direction reverses, as the emotion does, that the color changes. That new color can become your new feeling, but you want to experience the positive more intensely. So imagine that new, positive energy spinning faster and faster, and the faster the energy spins, the bolder and more beautiful that new color becomes.
Step 5: Accept and Access
After you’re happy with your new color and your new experience, it’s time to put it back. So imagine yourself breathing in or grabbing hold of that pleasant new experience, and imagine that positive and colorful energy spinning within you in the same place where you found the negative. Then, it’s time to test with the same 0 to 10 scale. Repeat as needed.
Practice this exercise. Share it with your friends. Learn to take control of your experience.