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How Neuro-linguistic Programming can help you manage life with extreme fatigue

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

Like many women (and men, I’m sure) I’m a fan of a decorative cushion! And have several that I like to place on our bed when I’ve made it, purely to make it look nice - i.e. no practical use at all. And, like many tasks that I find myself repeating regularly, I’ve developed a certain way of placing the cushions so that they’re perfectly displayed - always adding them in the same order. So much so that it’s become a bit of a ritual and creates a sort of lucky omen for the day ahead. I’m not particularly superstitious, but I know that it’s not uncommon for these types of ritual actions to turn into a type of good luck charm.

One morning last week, I wasn’t paying much attention to what I was doing and started my routine with the wrong cushion - gasp! My immediate thought was “Oh no, I’ll need to start again, or my day might not go well”. But I immediately caught this thought process and very quickly changed it to one along the lines of “Hey, for all I know, this way of placing them is even luckier!”. So I carried on, mildly curious about the day I’d now have as a result. And then of course I promptly forgot to monitor if the day had gone better or not, or indeed remember which order I arranged the cushions in anyway, so wouldn’t have been able to repeat it if I’d tried.

My point is, what I effectively did to myself at the moment I caught myself having the “Oh no” thought, was to ‘re-frame’ it. It’s a very simple NLP technique, and it’s used in a variety of situations to help people shift their mindsets from negative ones to more constructive ones.

Indeed, that single re-framing instance has now completely broken any desire I had to follow a certain cushion-placing routine and I now happily place them on the bed in whichever order takes my fancy that day! How freeing!

This is a bit of a light-hearted and simple example, but it demonstrates how easy it is to change and re-wire your thoughts and habits by simply altering your ‘mind language’. And really, that’s what NLP is all about.

When I was researching which qualifications to gather in order to best help people with ME/CFS, my thoughts immediately went to NLP. I knew a bit about it due to my corporate coaching role at the financial services organisation I’d previously worked at. And once I’d read into it a little more, I knew that it was the right tool for me.

Many of you will already be familiar with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), as this is offered by many NHS services to those with ME/Chronic Fatigue. And there are a few similarities between NLP and CBT - namely that they both help people deal with the emotions they’re experiencing by helping them move to more constructive mindsets. One of the big differences is that CBT works on the conscious level, whereas NLP also works with the unconscious mind. As our thoughts, behaviours and actions are usually driven by the unconscious mind, I personally felt that NLP would be more effective.

Both therapies can be very successful - but the reason you have perhaps heard more about CBT is simply because that’s the method that the NHS decided to adopt. This has helped it to become more mainstream and commonly talked about.

Because I offer an additional, complementary, approach to that which you might previously have received (or are waiting to receive!) from your local NHS centre, this gave me the final nudge I needed to go down the Neuro Linguistic Programming route. It doesn’t clash with anything you have/will experience with CBT, but in my experience it’s even more powerful and really helps people to achieve their desired mindset changes quickly. And if CBT didn’t work for you - it’s very likely that NLP will.

Extreme fatigue can rob you of the life you want to live, which leaves people feeling hopeless and desperate because they’re unable to cope with even basic daily tasks. And, understandably, this often leads to negative thoughts and emotions that can be difficult to control (as I’ve written about in previous blogs). By taking the time to really understand each of my clients on an individual basis, I identify which NLP techniques will best help them to re-write the language of their brain, and guide and coach them through these until more positive responses become second nature.

The difference this can make never ceases to impress me - and I hope it never will. I see my clients make hugely positive changes to their daily lives, making them easier to get through. I can’t take the credit for it, they’re the ones who make it work! I just guide them through the relevant discussions until they’ve achieved what they need to. NLP can be very subtle and gentle, but it delivers such powerful results.

Of course, it’s not just about being in the right mindset - tackling your life rescue from a chronic condition like ME/CFS is also very much about having a practical plan to follow, with tailored actions to process and progress. But without the mindset work, the practical element just won’t achieve as much as it could.

If you’d like to hear more about how I use NLP to help people like you cope with chronic fatigue and regain a life worth living again, please get in touch.

Bye for now,


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