The true quality of our lives is defined by how we feel on a moment-to-moment basis right? Over the last 3 years I have wanted to investigate this concept a little deeper to see how I can stop feeling bad or change a negative feeling or behaviour in an instant. As a result, I kept coming across a technique called ‘The Pattern Interrupt’. This particular technique was popularized by the founder of NLP (or Neuro Linguistic Programming), Richard Bandler and I discovered its many applications in Bandler’s book; Get the Life you Want. I use this technique in my life on a regular basis due to the rapid success rate that it has. Think of a habit, behaviour or feeling that you would like to change. It can be anything from, feeling stressed, feeling anxious, comfort eating to lazing on the couch. I have realised that the key thing to realize is that the feeling or behaviour is simply an automatic pattern. It’s not you any more, you have been conditioned to the point where these things are just ‘happening’. The exciting thing about this realisation is how easy it then is to make rapid, positive changes. Depending on your learning style, you can watch the video of me going through the process or read the description of the process below. I recommend that which ever way around you do it that you read the description and watch the video to fully grasp the concept.
How to Change a Bad Feeling or Negative Behaviour using a Pattern Interrupt
1) Experience the Feeling or Behaviour at its Fullest Whatever you are looking to change, you must experience it as fully as possible first. Tony Robbins calls this ‘getting the pattern running’. As an example, I wanted to overcome the feeling of anxiety when it came to building my business so I purposely made myself feel anxious about my business. The fuller you can experience the feeling, the faster and more successful the change will be. Using anxiety as an example, you would ask yourself; “How can I get anxious right now?”, “How would I be holding my body?”, then change your body and head position to reflect the anxious state of mind. Think of the things that make you feel anxious and say what you’d say to yourself. When you are experiencing the anxiety to the fullest you can go to the next step.
2) Interrupt the Pattern Now that you are experiencing the emotion or behaviour to the fullest you must do something totally unique and somewhat outrageous to interrupt the pattern. Your feelings will be jolted so much that you will move into a more positive state. Think of the simple Mathematics pattern: 2,4,6,8,10,12,14 – if I interrupt that pattern and make it 2,4,5,29,10,12,14 it simply isn’t a pattern any more. Human feelings are the same. I know what the next question you have, is: What Pattern Interrupt should I use? When you are experiencing the pattern of feelings at their fullest, change your body language drastically and shout or do something silly and crazy. You could jump up and shout “WOOOHHHOOO I LOVE GRASS!!!”. I know that sounds insane but that’s great, the more outrageous the better! It is the body change and craziness that interrupts the pattern. Sometimes with clients I tell them to jump up in a really loud voice, then tell to laugh as hard as they possibly can. Can you see how this really does interrupt the pattern?
3) Replace the Old, Negative Pattern with a Positive New One Now that the pattern has been well and truly interrupted, you need to replace it with a positive pattern that you actually want to experience. For me, I wanted to feel happy and confident about building my business, replacing the old anxiety. The easy way to create this happy and confident feeling is to stand up, throw your shoulders back, throw your chest up and put a huge smile on your face. You know what positive alternatives will work for you, so do that. When you have done this enough times and it becomes totally automatic you will be reconditioned to feel the feelings and behave in a way that you want. I understand that you are probably sceptical, I was as well. The fact of the matter is, this stuff really works and you should use this tool to interrupt every negative pattern in your life.
Start Today and Keep Going
This process is a skill and in my opinion, like any other skill you can’t just do it once and expect to improve forever. Start right now with something that you’d like to change, then go through it 10 times per day for 2 weeks. You will notice yourself getting better and the old patterns being replaced. Most of all, Enjoy it!
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