NLP Submodalities - Change your Reality


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So what happened?

Commonly, people will report that bringing the picture closer makes the feeling stronger, and pushing it away lessens the feeling, and that this works exactly the same whether the feeling is positive or negative.

If you discovered this, then well done.

If not, don’t worry, while this particular response is common, it is not compulsory.

What is important is your own particular results as this will be consistent whatever memory you are thinking of.

The aim of the next exercise is to work out which submodalities effect how you feel, and which ones don’t.

Exercise 1:

Using the image from the last trial, go through the following list, and for each of the submodalities, change the image in both directions, and make a note of what difference to your feeling the shifts make.

As before, once you have finished each shift, put the image back how it was before you started.

If you would like to print out the grids used in this Lesson then refer to the Submodality Worksheet.

Submodality   Result   Result
Brightness Make the Image Dimmer   Make the Image Brighter  
Position Move the Image Further Away   Move the Image Closer  
Color Remove color from image (turn to B&W)   Enhance the Image Color  
Focus Blur the Image   Sharpen the Image  
Size Make the image smaller   Make the image larger  
Distance Push the image off into the distance   Bring the image closer  
Movement Make the image still   Add movement to the image  
Border Give the image a border   Make the image fill your view (panoramic)  
Associated Ensure that the picture is 'though your own eyes'   See yourself in the image  

One thing to notice is that the last three of these shifts work in a different way to the others. The first shifts are all analogue, in that there is a constant shift, i.e. when changing the distance of an image there are an infinite number of different possibilities, but with association (for example), you are either in the picture or not. There is no inbetween.

Now you have a list of visual submodality shifts and how they affect your feelings. Some of these shifts may have little or no effect, some may have some effect, and some may have a very dramatic effect. So put that list aside for now while we work with the auditory modality.

Exercise 2:

Go through your past with a fine tooth comb and find a memory that gives you a strong positive feeling, but also has a strong auditory element.

This could be the sound of a particular persons voice, or you could remember the sound of waves crashing on a beach, or maybe you have a thing about train-spotting, and can remember the sound of a particular train.

The key is that the memory must have an auditory element and create a strong positive emotional response.

As before, you’re going to go through a list of submodalities, auditory this time, and change each one in both directions, and note what the changes do to the feelings for each of the submodalities, and as before, make sure that after each shift, the memory is returned to it's original form.

Submodality   Result   Result
Volume Quieten the sounds within the memory   Increase the volume of the sounds within the memory.  
Tone Lower the tone of the sounds.   Increase the tone of the sounds.  
Tempo Slow the sounds down.   Speed the sounds up.  
Pitch Lower the pitch of the sounds.   Raise the pitch of the sounds.  
Direction Change the position in space, where the sound comes from. Try several positions and see what makes a difference.      

So now you have a pair of lists, that show what submodality shifts have what effects on you.

So the obvious question is 'What do I do with this information?'



Previous comments


When I try to visualize something I find that it's really blurry. So blurry that whenever I try and work out how a the particular submodalities 'look' I really can't tell.

Also, if I try and move an image around, I can't get it to stay where I want, and it just moves around.

It's really frustrating. How can I make my images clearer?

Nick, Glasgow

Posted May 8, 2010 at 12:43

No Need to Struggle

Firstly, this issue comes up a lot. Surprisingly, many people think that they visualize worse than other people, but the truth is that no one really knows how well anyone else visualizes. The best thing to do is to keep practicing. When it comes to stabilizing images, practice should help you. If one of the exercises asks you a question about an images submodalities and you're not sure of the answer, then guess - you'll find that this will do fine.

Chris Harrison, UK

Posted May 14, 2010 at 20:17

Like light at the end of the tunnel

I have an unusual, but by no means unique, phobia that I'm only just getting to grips with. I tried this exercise on an unrelated memory from my childhood that definitely made me squirm when I thought of it. But now it's gone off into the distance and does all by itself whenever I think of it. I don't get that horrible feeling anymore. And it was SUCH a physical feeling. I'm starting to believe my fears can be conquered.

Jenny, Florida

Posted January 22, 2012 at 23:26

Great Stuff!

Good Stuff, Jenny. There is something really rewarding when you come to test a submodality change and the picture zooms off automatically.

Chris Harrison, UK

Posted January 25, 2012 at 13:30

to keep good relationship with others

as a it was really helpful for me personally and make progress in my clients. expecting more in this area. thank you for your writings.

nithin, India

Posted January 22, 2012 at 23:26