The Body Mind Connection

He started to sing as he tackled the thing that couldn't be done, and he did it.

Edgar A. Guest (Poet)

Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables.
Spanish Proverb

One of the principles that underpin NLP is that the mind and body form part of the same system. Changes in one can lead to changes in the other.

This makes intuitive sense:

•    Our body language of differs according to the emotional state we are in (happy or sad)
•    Changing our physiology can change our mood, for example, working out in the gym after a tiring day
•    We intuitively read a great deal about a person’s emotional state, their thinking etc. from shifts in their body language
•    When engaged in an exciting activity we notice pain less (“it’s only a scratch!”)
•    Simply imagining eating something pleasant or unpleasant can cause individuals to salivate or gag!
•    People who believe they will get better actually do heal faster than those who don’t believe (even if the condition is similar)
•    Mental activities such as meditation can affect heart rate, blood flow etc.
•    Athletes who work on their “mental game” tend to perform better than those who don’t (e.g. the phenomenon of ‘choking’)


•    The body shows how / what we are thinking / feeling
•    Changing the body can change the experience
•    Changing our thinking can change how we feel physically

If you want to learn more about the body mind connection I would recommend taking a look at magical body magical mind by Deepak Chopra, when you apply the strategies and principles of this it is amazing!
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Content and Process


One sunny day a young man is walking happily along a river bank.  He moves gracefully without any noticeable rhythm. His eyes are staring without really looking, his gaze fixed on far away hills and crags in the distant distance, they had been painted with pastel greys and blues they are cold even from here still so far away. The ambient sounds of a gently caressing breeze playfully shaking ripe golden corn heads is occasionally punctuated by a satisfying ‘cloop’ as river fish greedily gobble down tasty morsels that had skated their last dance on the water’s shimmering surface; only radiating ripples outward, always outward tell a tale of a now somewhat less hungry fish. The summer air is warm and strangely invigorated with the smell of fresh lavender and other familiar smells standing in the shadows of memory, still, tantalisingly, just out of reach.’

When you were reading the above paragraph, what images, feelings, sounds and thoughts came into your mind? Take just a moment to recall. Have you now got a representation of that scene? Did reading this somehow cause you to remember your own past experiences? If it did you were involved in your own content and the content of the paragraph.

When you are practicing with your developing skills in NLP, in order to master the NLP process you need to concentrate on the process and to a large extent avoid the content. Some change processes like Clean Language are done in such a way as the client keeps all of their content to themselves and you as an agent of change operate directly with process.

By operating at the process level, you can avoid

•    getting caught up or inappropriately interested in the client’s content
•    the unacceptable addition of your own content into the client.


As a rule of thumb:

•    If a client mentions ‘X’ you can mention ‘X’
•    You can mention anything that is logically associated or part of the same set of ‘X’
•    You can mention anything that is the complement of ‘X’ if it is useful.

Always pay exquisite attention to you own questions – are you asking them for the benefit of your client or are you asking them because you are interested in the content?


Example 1


Client – “I have this really strange aversion to fruit, call it a phobia.  If I see an apple of an orange I feel sick”

A content imposition – “So when you eat a fruit you don’t feel very nice?”



•    Client has not mentioned eating
•    Client said sick, not ‘nice’


An acceptable response could be – “Which fruit exactly make you to feel sick when you see them?”




•    We don’t know if client means all fruit or a subset of fruit


Example 2


Client – “When I get hot I feel happy”


A content imposition – “So being out in the sun makes you feel great?”



•    The programmer made sunny up!, hot could be a sexual implication
•    Client said happy, not feel great


An acceptable response could be – “How do you feel when you get cold?”




•    Cold is the complement of hot (in any context)


When I am looking to create change I am looking at the problems and roadblocks that the client has then I look to ask my self what is the question that I can ask that will create the biggest amount of change in their problem. Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you are not bogged in the detail things become clear?

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>> Hypnotherapy London


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