Adult colouring with children

I have a friend called Stephanie. In our last conversation she was telling me how she recently spent a weekend babysitting her friends’ children.  She told me how she spent most of it colouring and was shocked at how relaxed she felt while she coloured. It put a smile to my face to learn to continue the conversation with her, to explain why colouring is an amazing phenomenon.

Colouring for most of us was a favourite child hood activity. Anchors are stimuli that call forth states of mind – thoughts and emotions. The colouring anchor probably took her back to a time in her childhood when Stephanie was relaxed and loved; probably she didn’t have negative self talk and a care in the world as a child. Colouring brought those feelings back to her.

On the other hand, kids use colouring books to employ their motor skills and imaginations simultaneously. It’s one of the few activities that can occupy a child both physically and mentally, and is entirely self-contained, keeping a child stimulated for hours.

In adults, we can see the same effect happening to stressed out grown-ups.  Colouring is a physical activity, so it channels any nervous energy you might have while watching TV or reading into a creative effort. It also creates an opportunity for relaxation that doesn’t keep us glued to a screen — and we all know that night time kindle habit is a guaranteed way to hamper sleep.  Colouring on the other hand would be a good way to fall asleep.

On top of that, colouring books are filled with beautifully complex shapes that bring fantasy worlds to mind, and require advanced motor skills and a touch of finesse to describe in living colour. Translation: You won’t be bored. On the contrary, you’ll find these traces and outlines challenging enough to encourage mindfulness, but simple enough to allow you to enter a meditative state. It’s even called a type of active meditation. Structured colouring (as opposed to free-form doodling or sketching) has actually been proven to decrease anxiety for those very reasons. Further research I have found there are actual colouring books for adult. Who would have thought?

Goal Setting

We all have goals we would like to accomplish in our life time.  Often time it can be easy to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task.

NLP provides a very effective tool for setting goals.

SMART goals have to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed. This approach is a great start to effective goalsetting

S.M.A.R.T. goals:

S – Specific

M -Measurable

A – Attainable/Assignable

R – Realistic/Rewarding

T – Timeable/Tangible

I had a conversation with a lady the other day about a difficult situation she was in. She told me she had a dream to move out of the place she lived in to some where better as she was very unhappy with her room mates and the area she was living.

As an NLP practitioner I know I should not be judgemental or get involved emotionally but I could not help it… Thinking back to the conversation I believe it was the word dream that got me in the state I was in.  I asked her what are you going to do with this dream you have, she did not answer she just steered blankly into space. The thing is dreams are like clouds in the sky, good to look at but something you would never make any effort to get to.  I asked her what would happen if she turned her dream into a plan.  How would you feel about that? She looked at me and smiled that would be better. The word plan often invokes images of piece of paper with directions on it or maybe an image of a blue print. She has now changed the weight and meaning to what she needs to do to bring about change in her life.  Sooooo… you have plans to move out and get a better job, I asked her.  What would those plans look like to you?  It looks ok she replies with a smile. She gave me an outline of what she wanted to achieve. She told me her first step was to find a new place to live.  I asked her to be more specific about where she was going to live. I asked her to paint me a picture of every little detail about this new place she was going to live.  I asked her to describe to me how she felt when she walk thought her each room of her new place. I asked what would make this new place even better.  I asked her what would happen if she closed her eyes now and imagined if she was standing right there, how she felt.  She expressed great joy, and safety.

I asked her to list all the resources and skills she needed to find a new place to live. I asked her if she had all the resources she listed.  She said yes.  If she told me no I would ask her who she knew with the resources.  Ok I said putting those resources to good use -list the steps she needed to take to find a new place to live and put a timeline on it example next Tuesday you go on the internet find and list 20 places that matches the image of the place both inside and out she would like to live to be completed in 2 days time at 8:00pm. We sat for the next 20 mins setting times/deadlines to each task she needed. She even wrote it down to remind of the things that need to be done.

Three weeks later she moved into her new place and was very happy.

The story above of is a good example on how to set good goals. I hope it helps you in setting your future goals.

Expanding your comfort zone

I found this quote on the internet and thought it was brilliant.

“Draw a circle in the sand around you, step outside your comfort zone and you feel scared. The fear subsides. Things become normal very quickly. Now I can draw a wider circle around myself and my comfort zone gets larger. ”

Simon Woodroffe founder of Yo Sushi



Be Like Water

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” –Bruce Lee

NLP presupposes the person or element with the most flexibility in any given situation will have the best results. This is called the law of requisite variety.

If what you are doing is not working, do something else.  Just like water that will change its shape to fit a container, we too much are willing to change to adapt to the situation we are in.

NLP presupposes that every one of us is responsible for our own life. We may not be able to control external events but we are capable of controlling our reactions and responses to those events. If we keep reacting and responding in the same way, we will always get the same result. A person with the flexibility to adapt and change repeatedly his/her behaviour whenever something they are doing is not working. He modifies his behaviour until he achieves his goal.

Flexibility applies as much to our behaviour as to our thought. Rigid attitude or thinking reduces the desired outcome in our interaction with other people.

Always be flexible enough to explore and search for an appropriate strategy whether for a better life or a better learning habit rather than being continuously stuck with something in the present that does not work. If you want something new, you have to do something new which could well be better than holding on to the same strategy what is not working.

By increasing choice, you’re choosing expand your possibility of success. The more choices you have, the freer you are and the more influence you have over yourself and others.

Greater choice comes from being able to change your perspective on the situation.  The 3 main perceptual positions in NLP are:

  1. Associated to self. In your body, looking at the situation from your point of view.
  2. Associated to other. Taking the other person’s frame of reference.
  3. Associated to the “observer” or “witness”. Taking the objective perspective. Being the “fly on the wall”.

Understanding the 3 perceptual positions and becoming comfortable doing so in all contexts broadens your scope of choice.

With practice one can assume multiple perceptual positions simultaneously. With that comes the freedom to more consciously choose your thoughts, feelings and actions in all types of situations.


You would like to hang a painting on the wall but you are not too sure where or at what height to hang it.

From the first person seeing in the situation from your own eyes you can map out the places on the wall you could hang the painting.

Taking one step back then to the left you could take up the position of a friend to whom you trust helping you with challenge.  You could now look at the wall from a “fresh pair of eyes” Thinking and acting like that person you can now plot out a new position for the painting.

Once you have done this take a step to your right and another step back you can take up the position of someone who has just stumbled in to the situation and over heard you and your friend’s plans for the painting. With this position you can now look to the first position armed with the suggested positions from the first and second position and give your judgement on where you think the painting should be.

Then finally you step back into the spot where you started off in first position and observe the advice on where the painting should be.

Changing our behaviour is not all that difficult when we believe there are many alternatives which we can choose and that a solution to every difficulty is always available. We just need to be prepared to try hard to seek it out. All one needs is being flexible.