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It’s getting towards the end of the year and for a lot of people it’s time for the annual round of year end stress – between finishing projects and wrapping up work for the year to holiday stress from shopping, dealing with crowds, entertaining friends and family and travel it’s easy to feel like the walls are closing in.

Whether it’s for yourself or one of your clients, remember – this feeling is a product of how we’re using our submodalities. As the chaos of the season begins to pull you in many directions at once, it’s easy for the pictures of all the things you’re committed to doing to get larger and more vivid, the internal dialogue can get louder with bad tonality and stress can rise. But there’s a few things you can do to get all of these things under control.

First, just stop. You might ask, “What do you mean stop? I have too much to do!” But in fact, you’re not getting things done because when you try to do everything at once you’re not really getting anything done and what you are getting done is probably not really well done. So just stop what you’re doing, move around a little bit, if you’re at your office take a break. Breath. Because when you’re doing something that’s not working it’s time to do something else. It’s a pattern interrupt we can do for ourselves.

If you have pictures of what you’re committed to doing right in front of you, move them back to give yourself space and start manipulating the images, color to black and white, put a border around them – all the things we do in NLP to change the visual submodality to the point where the feeling of being overwhelmed lessens. You can also put them on a timeline to arrange the order that of tasks that would work best for you.

If you’ve got an internal dialogue that is taking up your mental bandwidth, change the speed, the tonality and the voice of that dialogue to the point where it doesn’t bother you and while you’re doing it, make a note of the modal operators you’re using. For example, are you telling yourself you HAVE to, SHOULD or MUST do something? If modal operators of necessity don’t work for you, slide in modal operators of possibility like CAN, WANT or MIGHT in their place.

And if you take that feeling of being overwhelmed and notice where it begins, as Dr. Bandler has often said, the feeling has to move, or it would habituate. Notice which direction that feeling moves, slow it down until it stops, then begin to move it the opposite direction. You’ll notice the intensity of the feeling begins to fade and the more you do it, the more it fades.

The rush to get things done at the end of the year can extremely stressful but by applying simple NLP practices we can allow ourselves to meet our obligations and enjoy the upcoming holidays.