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NLP Swoosh Pattern

NLP Swoosh Pattern

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The Swoosh Pattern is a Neuro Linguistic Programming technique that helps to stop compulsions and unhealthy behaviors like smoking, nail biting, nervous twitching, or even binge eating. This is accomplished by recognizing things that are bad to do and trying to find healthy replacements for them.

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How to Do It

When you come across an unwanted feeling or behavior (i.e. nail biting):

  1. Identify the trigger: an image that triggers the behavior/thought/feeling (i.e. thinking about a stressful situation or upcoming event like a job interview)
  2. Identify a replacement thought/action: an image of your ideal self engaging in your ideal healthy behavior/thought/feeling (i.e. you performing well at your new job)
  3. Replace the trigger image with the ideal image:
    1. Think of the trigger image
    2. Visualize placing a tiny version of your ideal image on top
    3. Make the ideal image grow bigger and clearer as the trigger image fades away
    4. Take a state-break (i.e. look at your watch)
    5. Repeat 5-7 times.
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  • May decrease stress and anxiety
  • May increase self-esteem
  • May help remove bad habits from your routine
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Time Commitment

5-10 minutes

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Why it works

Neuro Linguistic Programming is based on the assumption that every individual has one dominant sense faculty (visual, auditory, etc.) in which learning is easier. NLP techniques are matched to the individual’s dominant faculty to improve learning. The goal is to create an image in your head so that every time you are about to make a bad choice, you see the image and results of you making the better choice, which makes you stop doing the bad habit.

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Suggested Frequency

Daily until the unwanted behavior has ended.

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Side Effects

It may not work for everyone

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Required Equipment


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Gurus/Celebrities/Doing it

Cheryl Cole

Oprah Winfrey

Jimmy Carr

Russel Brand

Robbie Williams

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Related Products

NLP Ring of Fire

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Suggested Time of Day

Any time you have the desire to act compulsively or think negative thoughts

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There is no conclusive sound scientific evidence that proves the health benefits of Neuro Linguistic Programming. Just like most habits it may work for you or it may not.

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Supporting Studies and Articles

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  1. Kotera, Y., Sheffield, D., & Gordon, W. V. (2019). The applications of neuro-linguistic programming in organizational settings: A systematic review of psychological outcomes. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 30(1), 101–116. https://doi.org/10.1002/hrdq.21334
  2. Sturt, J., Ali, S., Robertson, W., Metcalfe, D., Grove, A., Bourne, C., & Bridle, C. (2012). Neurolinguistic programming: A systematic review of the effects on health outcomes. The British Journal of General Practice, 62(604), e757–e764. https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp12X658287
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 Happiness  Confidence  Stress
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