#71 Apply a little NLP thinking (64+ ways to lower BP).

The new year has rolled around again, and many of us, have made our New Year’s resolutions, and yet we know that we probably won’t stick with them. We will plan to loss weight, exercise more, eat better, and although we might make some temporary steps in this direction we will ultimately give up and revert to our prior behavior. Many of us will also struggle from the feeling that although we make one step forward, we end up going back two steps.

I’m a fan of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) and tell folks that NLP stands for New Learning Program.  In a way, it does, one of the tenets of NLP is that we can find successful models and model them. Find someone or something that seems to be working for some problem, analyze it, and learn from it. There are studies that claim that NLP is just pseudo-science, and they are probably right in a  way, although I think they are wrong in larger sense. One of NLP basic assumptions is that our mind-language- belief-body and behaviors (programming) interact with our subconscious to produce our world. Language can be thought as the way we talk to ourselves and others, and behaviors include all the habits we exhibit.   NLP claims that when any of these components change the others change too, so if we change our behavior, then our beliefs, language, body, and our thinking changes, and similarly if we change our thinking, then our language, beliefs, body, and behaviors change. If there are behaviors that allow  one to more successful manage hypertension, then NLP would claim that we can find them, model them, apply them to our own life with success.

NLP would tell us, that we have to work on creating deep inner motivation, that we have to have a system, that we need to surround ourselves with supportive people, and need to visualize ourselves taking the steps to be successful. We need to have a plan, it need not be elaborate, just some simple things, that we are going to try. The plan should have a goal, ultimate point we want to reach. Then we need to focus on the positive aspects of that plan … the things that following the plan will be beneficial to us. For example, if walking more is one of your ideas for lowering weight and lowering hypertension, then the goal might be a 30 minute walk every day. You need to remind yourself of all the benefits of 30 minute walk, you feel better, you can take pictures, visit friends, whatever. Also, if we can make it into a bit of a game, a challenge, imagine that we training for some sort of olympics. A friend of mine, once started timing how long it took him to walk around the block. It went from 10 minutes to 4 minutes, over a few months as his fitness improved. Then, we need to reward ourself for every bit of progress. We need to measure the progress towards our goal, and we also need to measure our inputs. Perhaps you remember those star things that various organizations like schools use to use for motivating children. Create your own star system! It still works. For example, when trying to lose weight, every pound might be a point of reward, reward yourself with movie, with a treat, with something.  So for the next week, find something on this list of ideas that you can use to lower BP, and adopt 3 ideas  for every day this next week.  Measure your blood pressure daily, and keep track of how well you are doing in carrying out your ideas.   Don’t ever aim for 100% compliance.  Perhaps if you can manage just one of those 3 ideas each day, you should consider that a success.    See if you can find an improvement by the end of the week in your BP.

The danger is that while in our head we know so many things we can do to lower our BP, in our heart, we don’t apply any of that knowledge, and next week you still have not taken any tangible steps to doing any of this stuff.  Try it, get in to it.


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