(NaturalNews) During my high stress years as an executive in corporate America, my least favorite part of the day was hearing the alarm clock go off in the morning. Getting up to face a new day of tough work challenges and even tougher office politics wasn't exactly a walk in the park for me. So, I needed a little extra motivation in the morning to put my feet on the floor and head for the coffee pot. How did I do it? Easy. I scared the hell out of myself.
Here's the scenario. I am awakened from sweet slumber by the alarm clock. Naturally, I hit the snooze button. It goes off again five minutes later. You know the deal. Snooze. Alarm. Snooze. Alarm. Snooze. As I keep this up, an image begins to grow in my mind of the consequences of being late for my morning meetings. With each passing moment, the pressure increases until I am imagining the utter embarrassment of being 30 minutes late to a meeting that I am supposed to facilitate. Soon, I am witnessing my whole career flash before my eyes. With a shot of pure adrenaline, I bolt out of bed, bypass the coffee and rush to save my job.
You can imagine after a few years with this self-motivational style, my adrenal glands were not happy. Burn out was inevitable. We all know the benefits of high stress - a lower immune system, poor sleep, high blood pressure - I could go on. My way of motivating myself came at a high price.
Actually, negative motivation styles are common and they are all inherently stressful and ineffective. NLP trainers have narrowed down four typical negative self-motivational styles. I'd like to mention each one and then show how Zen motivation transforms them all.
The Four Negative Motivational Styles
1. The Negative Motivator: You become motivated to act only after imagining the horrible consequences of waiting any longer. This was my getting out of bed strategy.
2. The Dictator: You give yourself "orders" in a stern, commanding voice, much like a military commander. The commands often contain words like: must, have to, should, etc...Not many people like to be ordered around. It is fascinating that many people who report ordering themselves around also report "rebelling" against their own orders.
3. Imagine Doing It: You imagine doing an unpleasant task and feel bad, rather than imagining the task completed and feeling compelled to get that result so you can feel good. If you need to do the dishes and don't enjoying washing, rinsing and drying, then imagining yourself doing just that will not be very motivating.
4. Overwhelm: You imagine an entire project, for example, as one global mass of work and do not chunk it down into one step at a time. The feeling of overwhelm is discouraging.
These four common, stressful and unproductive self-motivational strategies tend to defeat their own purpose. Even when they "work" they do not promote health and productivity in the long run.
Secret of Zen Motivation
Amazingly, Zen motivation overcomes all four negative motivational styles in one stoke. The key is getting to a Zen-like state. Again, NLP offers some handy tools for accomplishing this.
Zen has much to do with being present and being present has much to do connecting to what is going on in your environment right now. Tuning in to the external world in a particular way automatically calms the mind and eases bodily tensions, allowing a peaceful, grounded, present state of mind to emerge. To prepare for Zen motivation, experiment with some alternatives from among the following.
1. Look at your surroundings, but only notice colors, textures and shapes.
2. Listen to sounds in your immediate environment, but not voices. Tune into mundane sounds like the hum of your computer, the whirl of a fan or the running refrigerator motor. You can also listen to the sound of the wind blowing or the distant traffic, even crickets etc...
3. Feel outside textures and temperatures, such as the fabric of a piece of furniture or the carpet. Perhaps the coolness of a glass of ice water, etc...It also works to feel environmental pressure, such as the pressure of your body against the seat or the general feeling of gravity pulling you toward the earth.
Pick just one external sensory experience such as those listed above and merely tune into it for 20-30 seconds. If your attention wanders, that's fine. Just return to noticing the particular external sight, sound or feeling you had been noticing. After several moments, you will feel yourself "settle" a bit. You will relax and your bodily tension will ease. This is the beginning of a more present, Zen-like awareness.
From here, it's simple. While in this state, gently consider what you need to do, then follow your natural instinct! The steps to Zen motivation are simple:
1. Enter a Zen-like state using your external senses 2. Gently consider what you need to do 3. Follow your natural instinct to act.
Zen motivation is a wonderful alternative to forcing yourself, psyching yourself out or pumping yourself up. These attempts at self-motivation can work, but the pressure put on your mind and body is enormous. So, instead of hitting the snooze button until you just know the world will end if you don't get up, why not gently feel the texture of the sheets against your skin as you awaken? Then, tune into the sounds within your awareness, allowing your mind to settle into each one. These experiences will welcome a new day and actually make getting out of bed a pleasure.
When you are in the shower, pay attention to the feeling of the water running down your back. Enjoy the scalp massage you give yourself while washing your hair. Listen to the water going down the drain. Give into your senses! It's a much richer experience than the usual mind wanderings of the average shower taker.
The sights, sounds and feelings of the world are always with you. Use them to your advantage. Get out of your head and tune into your environment. Once you are grounded in the present, motivating yourself is as simple as considering what needs to be done.
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