This is about using NLP to control stress reactions, and I’m going to use new research from our toughest military training as an example of what’s possible.
Our U.S. Navy SEALs have the reputation of being the best commandos ever created. A Navy SEAL is someone who has survived the most challenging military training in the world.
SEAL stands for Sea, Air, and Land fighting, and these guys do it all, from swimming underwater to jumping out of airplanes.
Those who pass the training demonstrate an almost superhuman ability to keep functioning in very stressful situations. In other words, they can keep functioning effectively when a normal person would be totally controlled by their primitive fight, flight or freeze reactions.
Like where things are blowing up and people are shooting at you.
What has this to do with NLP? Let me give you some background and then I’ll tell you how NLP can be super-useful here.
But first I have to tell you about a problem the Navy had. You see, the selection process for SEAL candidates was tough. But even when they had a batch of super qualified prospects, they were losing over 75% of them during the first weeks of training.
This is a very expensive situation. Navy psychologists looked at the failures and found something interesting.
The prospects who failed didn’t lack physical ability. Even though the training ordeals were extreme the candidates were able to do the job.
Nope, it wasn’t muscles – it was mental. And that’s interesting because the average SEAL I.Q. is way above the military norm and many of them have graduate degrees.
The ones who “washed out” didn’t control their instinctive reactions to stress. They simply froze or folded when the challenges got too demanding.
Mental toughness. That’s what the Navy decided to research, so they could keep more of these well-qualified candidates. Learning how to use their “software” to control their bodies’ “hardware”.
Clearly, intelligent people get scared too. Maybe it’s even a mark of thoughtful people, but fortunately smart people can learn more self-management also.
The SEAL Command Psychologist, Commander Eric Potterat, listed four key mental techniques that are now being taught to SEAL candidates. He found that these mental techniques can be taught to any willing person and they would increase an individual’s performance under stress levels where most of us would just shut down.
The “mental toughness” program was so effective that it increased the Navy SEAL pass rate by over one third.
These skills are now being taught to college students facing exams, fighter pilots, and key executives in some companies.