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How to Manage Worry and Anxiety on the Spot with NLP

Worry and Axiety Tangled

The average NLP training teaches us how to work with worry and anxiety, yet in the past two weeks alone, I found myself in coaching sessions with two former students who needed a little more than the basics. Both women are intelligent, high-achieving, successful, and NLP Master Practitioners. I wanted to create a new NLP technique for worry and anxiety and infuse a bit of positive psychology and neuroscience.

Have you ever been in a situation where you need to make a significant decision? And at the same time, there is uncertainty, and you must complete a million tasks. You need to be on top of your game for a job interview, court case, or situations that do not happen daily.

Worry or anxiety is the last thing you need.

What is the Difference Between Worry and Anxiety?

What is worrying?


– It exists in the mind and involves our thoughts.
Connected to a realistic concern.

– Temporary.

– It is caused by experiencing stress.

– It can be a source of motivation and create an impulse to act.

What is anxiety?


– It exists in the mind and the body.

– Triggers a physical response.

– Triggers an emotional response.

– Worst-case scenario thinking, unrealistic, overestimating risk.

– It is more longer term or can linger.

– It gets in the way of performing personally and professionally.

What is the Difference Between Worry and Anxiety?

I have noticed that clients often say they have anxiety, but what they experience is worry. Or the other way around. We often mislabel these emotions. This is partly because society and our parents never taught us the difference. Partly because we aren’t emotionally self-aware – we don’t know what we are experiencing or feeling.

Since the physical and emotional response sets anxiety apart, it is vital to understand what an emotion is. And what some of the physical responses of anxiety are.

A coach or Practitioners don’t know the difference either, so they end up using the wrong NLP techniques or coaching interventions.

What is the difference between a feeling and am emotion?

We are looking for a former student to write an article about either anxiety or worry using NLP. 

What are the physical responses of anxiety?

Here are some of the signs:

– Cardiovascular: Increased heart rate, palpitations, chest pain, high blood pressure.

– Respiratory: Shortness of breath, rapid breathing, hyperventilation, a sense of suffocation.

– Muscular: Muscle tension, trembling, shaking.
Gastrointestinal: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, irritable bowel syndrome.

– Nervous system: Headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, tingling or numbness in hands and feet.

– Skin: Sweating, flushing, itching.

NLP Technique for Worry & Anxiety

There are three ways you can apply this NLP technique:

1. On the spot (with anxiety, this will be challenging.)

2. Before the worrying or anxiety starts.

3. After the event, to teach the brain a new coding for future events.

You practice and use this NLP technique a lot for it to become a habit, a new way of thinking.

Step 1: Dissociate – NLP Technique for Anxiety

Imagine stepping out of your body and placing your mind after the event. The time frame can be the day after, a week later, or months later. Whatever feels life a safe amount of distance.

From this space, you are dissociated, meaning an observer of yourself—that logical part of you, a place of non-emotion. The event is over; it went well, or it didn’t. You no longer control it.

Step 2: Creating Reality

(Still considering this from the future looking back at the event, dissociated.)

There is a 3-step process from the (positive) psychology world that will allow you to walk someone back from the lack of realism and the associated emotions. I combined it with the NLP Meta-Model.

Briefly explore each step, to not get stuck anywhere.

Ask the following questions:

What specifically is the worst-case scenario?

This is where they currently are, but from the dissociated point of view much easier to realistically explore. Often it isn’t the end of the world.

Tell yourself: “If this were to happen, then you will deal with it then!”
A powerful answer when you need to walk someone else back from their own imagined pending future disaster.

What specifically is the best-case scenario?

Now, you force the brain into a much better space, the one of other options than the worst-case scenario. The thoughts, emotions, and body respond differently to this.

What specifically is the most likely scenario?

This forces to brain into a experiencing reality. A middle of the road solution is what people go for.

Now for any obstacles and challenges, you again tell yourself: “If these were to happen I will deal with it then.

Step 3: Establishing Control

(Still considered from the future after the event is over, looking back.)

What specifically can you do to make sure the outcome of the event is positive?

What specifically do you control today? (You can reference the current date.)

Resources: How to Manage Worry and Anxiety on the Spot with NLP

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