NLP Techniques – Submodalities and Visualization

Image © Ashley Rose

For my March Challenge, I will practice one or more  NLP techniques every day.

In these posts, I will go into the NLP techniques in more depth. My goal is to not just give you a better understanding of what the techniques are and how they could be helpful to you, but also to leave you with some exercises so you can start practicing these techniques yourself.

In this post I will explain Submodalities and Visualization.

What are submodalities?

Submodalities are the building blocks of everything we see, hear, feel, smell or taste, whether it is real or imagined.

That sounds good, but what does it mean?

Close your eyes and imagine you are walking along a beach somewhere.

Do you see the sunlight reflecting on the water? What does it look like? Is it bright or muted? Is it a single color or does it have all the colors of the rainbow? Are there any colors at all or is it black and white? What about the air? Is it hazy or clear? What about the entire picture? Is it sharp or unfocused? Are you seeing yourself walking or are you doing the walking?

Now listen. What do you hear? Do you hear the sounds of the waves? The cries of seagulls? Where does the sound come from? Is it loud or can you barely hear it? Does it change or stay the same? What kind of sound is it?

What about how you feel? How does the sand feel between your toes? Is it smooth or grainy? Do you feel the sunlight on your face? Perhaps a soft breeze? Is it hot or cold right now? How do you feel? Do you feel calm? Happy? Where in your body do you feel these feelings? Are they moving or stationary?

Submodalities are all the little details that make up our experiences. Not just what we see but how we see it. Not just the sounds but what makes up the sounds. Not just the feelings but the essence of what we are feeling.

How can we use submodalities?

Ask yourself this.

If submodalities are what make up our experiences, what would happen if we would change the submodalities of an experience? Would that change the experience itself?

As a matter of fact, it would.

Submodalities are a fantastically powerful tool to use when dealing with our emotions, both positive and negative.

We can strengthen positive emotions by making the picture of them brighter, larger or clearer. We can make the sounds louder or more fluent. We can tweak the feelings so they are coursing through our bodies in a torrent of emotion.

And we can lessen, dampen or even completely erase negative emotions. We can filter our the color so the picture is black and white. We can move the picture into the distance. We can mute the sounds or replace them with something that makes us smile. We can take what we feel and make it smaller so we aren’t overwhelmed by it.

And we can do this with memories from the past, experiences in the now or dreams of the future. Have you ever wondered whether the future is bright? Why not make it so? You are the director of your own experiences.

Let’s practise.

Here’s an exercise you can do to experience the power of submodalities.

1. Close your eyes and remember an experience that made you very happy. Notice what you are seeing, hearing and feeling.

Don’t worry if you aren’t seeing a clear picture. Most people don’t when they first start out. Just trust that it’s there.

2. Now make the picture you’re seeing dark and dim. Push it away from you, watching it grow smaller. Mute the sounds until you can barely hear them.

Do you notice the difference in how you feel? Has the feeling lessened or even disappeared?

3. Now reverse the changes you made. Make the picture brighter and clearer. Make it bigger. Pull it closer and closer until you are completely enveloped in it. Turn up the sounds, make them more rhythmic.

Now notice how you are feeling. Is the feeling stronger than when you started out? Isn’t this a lot better?

Congratulations! You have just experienced the power of submodalities. What’s more, you’ve learned a way to lessen negative emotions and to enhance positive emotions.

Using just submodalities you can take control of your memories, your experiences and your dreams and tune them however way they are most helpful to you.

In my next post I will introduce you to anchoring. Using anchors, we can make any emotion we need available to us whenever we need them. Anchoring and submodalities are an incredibly powerful combination.