Swishing A Negative Feeling ~ A Simple Formula for Letting Go

negative feelings
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The Swish pattern in NLP is one of those classic techniques that can bring about a rapid change in behavior, but can it handle a negative feeling?

The swish is a visual pattern that involves quickly moving images in your mind. The swish pattern puts you in a mindset that allows you to overcome habits. Over the years, people have quit smoking, overeating, procrastinating, and reacting poorly to certain specific situations because of the swish pattern.

The swish is great but there’s a limitation to it in that it’s most easily done in visual mode. It’s a visualization technique. Over the years, people have asked, “How do I do a feeling-oriented swish, a kinesthetic swish.

We’ve discovered a way to let go of a negative feeling that is simple and easy and effective.

It’s true over the years that many NLP practitioners and trainers have come up with kinesthetic variations of the swish pattern. However, we found the most effective way to do it.

Here’s how.

Start with a negative feeling and just allow that negative feeling to be there. Don’t worry. It won’t hurt you! 

We’re going to work with this negative feeling using NLP submodalities. It’s simple! Notice where you feel the negative feeling. Is it in your head, your throat, shoulders, chest, belly, legs, arms? Where’s the feeling?

Also, notice what shape the feeling is. Is it a blob, a rectangle, a square or cylinder? What shape is it?

Again, the mindset is just allowing the feeling to be there and consciously experiencing it in order become more aware. The next thing to become aware of is any movement associated with the feeling.

Is the feeling moving?

Is it expanding contracting?

Is it flowing in any given direction?

Is it spinning?

Feelings are dynamic.

They have a subtle movement to them. This natural movement of feelings is a key to doing a kinesthetic swish. Once you discover the direction your feeling is moving, then your job is to simply observe the movement without resisting it.

Allow the feeling to move however and wherever it wants to. Your feeling may be moving in a downward direction, upward direction, or in an outward direction. Let it move and just observe where it moves. The process of observing where it moves could take a few minutes, so take a deep breath and just witness the feeling and where it wants to go next.

If you allow this to happen over a period of several minutes, the feeling will process. It will complete all feelings and emotions are temporary. They come and go in waves. We know this in NLP when we set an anchor, when you set an anchor to stabilize a feeling, you catch that feeling at its peak.

Feelings have peaks and they’ll be at that peak for a few moments before they move on and turn it into something else. The act of witnessing your feeling’s movement is similar. The feeling is going to move. It may intensify. Then it will lessen and you’re just going to observe that process until the feeling completes itself. When the feeling completes, there is usually a sense of calm or relief or being okay.

You’ve just acknowledged the feeling. You’ve paid close attention to it. You’ve allowed it to run its course. People feel calm after that. Once you get to that calm or positive place, then note where is the center of that calm.

The next step…

Clear your mind entirely and trace the pattern of the feeling, noticing, remembering where it started, where it moved to, how it developed, and how it completed.

Once you remember this, then recall the original feeling again and let it run its course a second time. After you’ve let it run its course a second time and are feeling calm, clear your mind and do it again. When you let the feeling run its course, now you more or less know where it’s headed, so this third time, as you let the feeling run its course, just know that it’s headed toward that calm place.

And then do it again. Starting with the original negative feeling, knowing it’s going to end up in a calm place and observe the feeling to let it run its course and complete again.

Actually, you can do this process as many times as you need to until you feel confident in it and the feeling runs its course and ends up in a calm place to form a new pattern.

Then as you go through your day-to-day life, pay attention to when that original feeling comes up. Take a deep breath and (obviously:) allow it to run its course. You know where it’s headed. You know how it’s going to get there. You know you’re going to end up feeling calm, so let that happen.

I’m calling this the kinesthetic swish pattern because it has an end goal, which is that calm or positive place. And once you set up this system, you know where you’re headed.

The issue is a matter of allowing the feeling to move there.

If this is done well, every time you get this negative feeling, you’ll know immediately that all you have to do as a witness it and allow it to progress to this calm place!

The kinesthetic swish is something we’ve used in our training school at the iNLP Center and in our work with individual clients. We find that it’s very consistent and very helpful.


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