Archive for the 'NLP' Category

Communication habits and family dynamics

Posted by Holly Stokes on December 24th, 2014

MiscommunicationAhh the holidays are all about getting together with family. A wonderful time of cherished traditions and time with our loved ones. And for some of us, family time can come with a downside.

I don’t know if this has happened to you, but do you have certain family members that just push your buttons?

During the holiday season, we spend more time with family and because of our history with each other, sometimes we get our buttons pushed (and sometimes we do some button pushing too).

I had a family member that I couldn’t seem to get along with. It didn’t seem to matter what he said or what I said, we would both jump into an argument over even the littlest of things.

And then one day I had a breakthrough. I stepped back and looked at how we were operating.

I saw that I had been seeing him as “full of himself,” and so I felt it my duty to contradict what he would say and take him down a peg. And then I saw his side and in his mind, he needed to be right or that would mean that he was a bad person and he just couldn’t face that. So for him, arguing and being right was a protection.

When he would say something, it went through my filter of, “here we go again, he’s always right” and I would snark back which triggered his buttons of belittlement and needing to be right and around we would go in a power struggle.

We weren’t having discussions, we were full out arguing. And neither side was being heard. Even a few times we resorted to personal attacks and so we both took offense and so we would carry that baggage into the next argument.

And we were both right in our own minds. And we were both stubbornly justified.

But that one day, while I was sweeping the floor, it just changed, like a light bulb turned on over my head and I saw him in a different light.

I saw him in the light of his struggle and contribution and I could appreciate him for who he was. Once I saw him differently, our whole dynamic changed, something just switched. I stopped taking offense and snipping back and I stopped being critical and held my tongue.

Over a few meetings the past animosities seemed to fade. He later told me, “you’re different, it’s like you’re not out to get me anymore.”

I still noticed snippy things to say, but as I let go of the need to make him see that he was wrong, I could just sit back and let him think and say what he would without needing to correct him. He could have his opinion and I could have mine.

And I started to find ways to express my opinions that weren’t antagonistic.

The power struggles ended and we haven’t fought in years.

If we look at what is triggering us in our family relationships, we can learn more about ourselves and how we are operating. When we examine our own mindset and look for our own part, we can take responsibility and be empowered to make a change.

With our family relationships it’s easy to get stuck in patterns and habits of communication and how we treat each other. We may have played certain roles in the past, the rescuer, the leader, the caretaker, the pleaser etc and sometimes we don’t give the people in our lives the chance to change roles.

And when we change, we invite others to change as well.

Recognize that they are doing the best with what they know.

Many people are stuck in their own minds, stuck in being right, stuck in being seen a certain way or stuck in playing a role. If they have patterns that push your buttons, it’s quite likely they don’t even know it and they are just operating out of their mental programs.

And when you feel triggered, what is that telling you? Usually it indicates a bad mental program that you’ve bought into at some level of awareness.

Looking at your family relationships this holiday season, what are your patterns and what are you thinking in the back of your mind with family members? What frame of mind might you need to shift?

It’s easy when we get together with family to assume that we know who they are and to be critical of their patterns. Just remember that at the core of it, underneath it all, we are all simply trying to do the best with what we know.

Wishing you all a happy healthy holiday season. May you let go of old regrets, old hurts and judgments and rekindle the goodness of your connections with your loved ones.

Leave your comments and experiences below of how a relationship changed for the better for you.

5 Stress Relief Quick Tips

Posted by Holly Stokes on December 16th, 2014

Ahh The holidays. That wonderful time of year where we get together as families and celebrate and cherish our traditions. The season is a swarm of  parties, get togethers and more evnets. And then there is the holiday shopping and the flood of holiday shoppers and traffic. Along with the cherished traditions also comes more stress. More demands on our time.  Stress Relief Tips And more demands on our resources. More expenses for parties, traveling to see family, and gift giving.

Although the holidays are about fun and celebration, they also bring more stress. Stress is a silent creeper. It can creep up on you. Many people take for granted the real cost of stress. It can affect your thinking, keeping you feeling anxious and fuzzy headed. It can also affect your decisions. It can also affect your relationships. When we are stressed, we tend to be more snappy and argumentative.

But that’s not all, stress has physical costs on our body. Stress contributes to all major diseases, it aggravates illness, saps your health, your energy, your focus, causes sleep problems and causes you to gain weight. Here’s my top quick tips to address stress this holiday season:



  1. 5 –10 Minutes in the Morning –Take 5 minutes just to be still in the morning before the chaos starts. Journaling even 5-10 minutes can help you set priorities, listen to your own thoughts and get focused for your day.


  1. Take Breaks - Take a break in your day to walk around the block, get a breath of fresh air and physically move your body. When you move opposite sides of your body at the same time, it synchronizes the hemispheres of your brain, increasing circulation and improving focus and reasoning.


  1. Use Your Commute - Get some relaxing CDs or pick a good soothing radio station. Music is one of the few activities that activates your whole brain which increases creativity and focus and well being. I often blast the radio when I’m driving and belt it out! Getting caught up in your favorite songs is a great stress reliever!


  1. Take B Complex vitamins—when you are stressed, your body burns up more B vitamins. B vitamins are essential to the body’s metabolic processes and combats stress, anxiety, depression and supports mental health. Sources of B vitamins in foods are meat, eggs, poultry, beans and vegetables.


  1. Kava Kava – I prefer taking Kava Kava in a tincture form and adding a dropper full to a glass of water. I feel it takes the edge off of stress and calms the mind. Find it at your local herb shop or health food store and ask about precautions.

There are many stress relief activities that will help calm your mind and your body, but these only take care of stress after it happens.   When you are stressed, your body physically responds to what you are thinking about. With brain training and hypnosis, we can train the brain out of mental patterns causing the stress, anxiety and unhappiness in the first place, curtailing the stress response before it starts.

Some common mental patterns that cause or heighten stress are: I need to be perfect, I need to get it right, I have to get it all done, worrying and the list goes on and on. The underlying mental patterns can be very different and unique to each person as we all have unique experience and history. What are some ways that you reduce holiday stress? Add your tips to the comments below:

Holly Stokes, The Brain Trainer

You can train your brain out of fears, anxiety, negative thinking, self criticism, cravings, and unhappiness!

Find your life purpose, motivation and confidence with your brain!    

P.S. You can also check out my CD, mp3: Train Your Brain for Stress Relief at:

Natural Approach to Pain Management

Posted by Holly Stokes on May 7th, 2014

Natural Approach for Pain Management

My colleague Craig mentioned his back pain, he’d broken his back about 6 months before and was still feeling pain from the injury. So I asked him if he wanted to a natural approach to pain management and reduce the pain by using NLP, Neuro-Linguistic Programming.  He said yes, this is the process that I guided him through. It’s amazing at how much insight we can find if we look in the right places.

Holly: Think of the back pain, imagine scanning through your body and give it a shape, notice its outline and how it feels. Now imagine shrinking your awareness down to the size of a pea, and travel from your head through your body to the area of pain. Now ask the area of discomfort, what does it want?

Craig: It wants attention.

Holly: Thank that part for communicating with you. And what will it get by having attention?

Craig: It will be noticed.

Holly: What will it get by being noticed?

Craig: It will have influence.

Holly: What will it get by having influence?

Craig: It will have input into his (Craig’s) life.

Holly: What will it have then by having input into Craig’s life?

Craig: Then I can be more in line with my life purpose.

Holly: What will you have then if you are more in line with your life purpose?

Craig: Then I’ll have fulfillment, leading a fulfilling life.

Holly: What will you have then if you have fulfillment?

Craig: Then I will have peace and connection to God.

Holly: So what this part in charge of the pain really wants is peace and connection to God. If you were to set aside time each week for peace and connection to God, what would that look like?

Craig: Well, spending about 2 hours a week working on my own self improvement.

Holly: So ask that part if it will agree to reduce the pain signal if you make a commitment to make time each week for finding peace and connection to God.

Craig: It agrees, it  will try it out and see if I follow through.

Holly: So now, I want to ask your unconscious mind and the part in charge of the back pain if it will reduce your pain, taking all the time it needs in the next few days and hours?

Craig: Yes, it wants to do it at its own rate.

A couple hours later, I checked in with Craig about how his back was doing. He said the pain was getting better, and he had more flexibility and less stiffness in his back.

I checked in with him again 24 hours later and asked how his back was doing. He said that the pain had continued to reduce and he was feeling better.

Pain is a signal telling us that something is wrong. Pain is communication from the body. And sometimes pain is a communication of not only the body, but our higher intelligence. In this case, Craig’s body and higher wisdom was wanting Craig to connect with God and find peace and it was using pain as a signal to catch his attention.

We never want to reduce pain without understanding why it is present and what’s going on with the body. This means working with your health care professionals to address your medical issues. But once the pain is understood at the physical level, then we can look for the higher intentions, and we can make agreements with the unconscious mind to reduce the pain signal.

In this process we acknowledged the part of the body in charge of pain, connected with the body’s own wisdom about the meaning of the pain, and made an agreement to fulfill the higher intentions of the pain so that the pain signal would reduce.

Often times when we experience pain, we ignore the pain or we suppress it with painkillers and we ignore the body’s communication system. If however, we recognize the intelligence of the body and work with the body’s own systems for health and healing, we can address the mental and emotional and even spiritual blocks to healing.

The body has an amazing ability to heal itself. If something isn’t healing as expected, there could be a mental block to your healing.

Go through the process of asking your own body about the pain or work with a qualified hypnotherapist or NLP Practitioner to identify your mental blocks. Hypnosis can enhance getting in touch with the body communication system.

Here’s to Your Health, Happiness, and Success

Holly Stokes, The Brain Trainer

Positive Communications Pattern with NLP

Posted by Holly Stokes on December 11th, 2013

With the holidays and festivities also comes more time with family. Family is great when you all get along, and it’s of course difficult when your communications are less than stellar.

Try this NLP process for creating a habit around your communications so that you can come from a healthy space with your communications, creating more fulfilling relationships.

Line out a square of 4 spaces on the floor in front of you, one space for Self, one for Other, one for Observer, and one for Higher Self.

Think of a difficult conversation you had with a person.

Step into square 1: Self, and state your point of view.

Step into square 2: Other and get into the frame of the Other person, take on their view of the world and state their response or point of view.

Step into square 3:Observer, and take the view of an Observer. What is it like seeing the interaction between the two of you?

Step into square 4: Higher Self and imagine a white light shining through you and imagine being your Higher Self, feel the wisdom and insight and notice what you might change in this interaction.

Step back into Self and notice what has changed.

Repeat the process 5 or 6 times going through each of the steps, ending back in Self. Repetition will turn this into a new habit, making it an automatic response for you. This is a great process for difficult conversations, family, friends, and even coworkers!

You can also use it in preparation for difficult conversations to better understand the other’s view and maintain your own equilibrium throughout the conversation.

NLP Tool Motivation: Change your Mental Pictures

Posted by Holly Stokes on December 4th, 2013

Motivation can range from simple to complicated. At the simple level, we need to change how we are thinking about the thing we’d like more motivation on. Use this simple tool to boost your motivation on something.

A simple level motivation is to pay attention to your mental pictures. Think of a thing you are highly motivated to do. Now notice how you picture that in your mind. What is the location of the picture, what is the color, the brightness, the contrast, the sharpness of the image?

Next, picture something you want more motivation on, how do you picture that in your mind? What is the quality of that picture, the colors, the location, the contrast, sharpness of the image?

Now change the qualities of the picture, add more light to the picture of what you’d like more motivation on and change the qualities to match the picture of what you are highly motivated to do. As you change the mental picture, you’ll feel more motivated. Change the light, add brightness and vivid color. I like to add a pinch of pixie dust for good measure.

Now how motivated are you to do it?

Changing a Habit with NLP

Posted by Holly Stokes on October 27th, 2013

Sometimes making a change is simply about remembering to do so.

When you have enough healthy habits, you can enjoy lasting weight loss success. Use this Neuro-Linguistic Programming process for making a new habit.

Think of a change that you’d like to make and think of the context, where does it fit in your routine? For this example we are going to use adding exercise into the schedule after work.

What are you doing now? I come home from work and I sit down in front of the TV.

What change do you want? I want to come home from work and put on my workout clothes and go to the gym.

What is the cue that tells you to run the new habit? Coming home from work.

Read the rest of the blog post here: