NLP Timeline Technique

The NLP time line technique is a psychological tool that allows you to effectively rewrite your past and pre-write your future. It does this by providing you with a mechanism to change the meanings and associations of past bad experiences as well as install useful, positive beliefs for your future.

Whether we are aware of how we do or not, we all represent our experiences as taking place along a timeline of our lives. These internal representations of the past, present and future will be slightly different from individual too individual, but they will have a lot in common.

To find out how you represent your own time line, close your eyes for a moment and think of something that happened to you quite recently, after a few seconds switch to thinking of an experience that happened many years ago. Notice where that experience seems to be relative to your position, a good indication is if slightly turn your head or look towards. Now repeat the same thing for an imagined future experience.

This should have given you a rough idea of your internal time line. Many people experience the past as behind them while the future is in front, others the timeline runs from one side to the other, and these are by no means the only options. It doesn’t matter how your mind represents the timeline idea just try to notice how it does.

Using the NLP timeline

The use of NLP time line will amplify the effect of any visualisations by strengthening the association between your real experiences and those you are visualising. This in effect makes the visualised experiences more real, which gives them more power to change any feelings or behaviour that you want to change.

As an example let’s say you had some bad experiences or mistakes that you made in your past, which make you feel bad whenever you think of them, and so you want to strip away these negative feelings and leave behind only the lessons you learned from the experiences.

To begin, think of the experience you want to change, don’t worry about all the details of the experience, just a rough idea of what happened. Next close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

With your eyes closed imagine yourself floating up out of your body, so that you above your timeline, looking down on it. Now begin moving in the direction of your past along your timeline. Keep moving back into your past until you feel that you are at the exact time of that particular experience.

As you look down on this experience, start to drain all the negative associations from the experience, you can do this by literally visualising washing away any anger or pain with some water flowing through the location on the timeline, many people find changing the colour of the experience can also help. Next take the positive lessons learned and intensify them, you can do by shining a bright glowing light onto or out of them. Using the anchoring technique, to link a positive learning experience from somewhere else in your life is very effective.

When you are finished (take as much time as you need) allow yourself to drift back to the present. Take a moment to notice how you now feel differently about the past experience which had been causing you trouble and then open your eyes.

The new associations you have created for this experience will slowly integrate themselves into your perspective, this can happen fairly quickly or take a few days to weeks depending on how significant the experience you changed was to you.

The technique works in basically exactly the same way for future experiences too, here you simply move along in the opposite direction to a future point in your timeline, and visualise yourself being the person you want to be, and achieving your desired outcomes, for example, being more confident in new situations. Stacking up a few of these experiences in your future timeline can help to amplify any effect.

You can make timeline experiences more intense by floating down into each of the experiences. This can bring up all the thoughts and feelings associated with the experience, so is particularly useful when amplifying positive experiences, but you may prefer the additional distance and control that is provided by looking down on them when dealing with a more negative experience.

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