Introduction to Submodalities | NLP Blog from Transform Destiny
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Introduction to Submodalities

Thursday, September 4th, 2008 : Read 303 Times

Wait, Submo-what?!?

Yeah, NLP is big on jargon, I know.

It’s a big, fancy word, but what if you could use this tool to totally motivate yourself, instantly dislike tempting foods, obliterate bad habits, and change negative self-beliefs into powerful, positive beliefs?

Would you be willing to put up with a little jargon? Good.

One thing we know from NLP is that we experience the world through our five senses: vision, hearing, feeling, smell and taste.

We then take those external signals and convert them into internal thoughts made up of only six things: pictures, sounds, feelings, smells, tastes and self-talk, all of which we can either remember or make up. These are called our “modalities.” They’re the “channels” we think in.

Now, each of those modalities have certain qualities about them, and any memory or thought is stored in our head with different qualities. Here are some examples:

  • Pictures: Color/BW, distance of the picture, size of the picture, location on your internal “screen,” movie or still-picture.
  • Sounds: Location, volume, speed
  • Feelings: Location, size, intensity

By changing these “sub-modalities” of any one of the modalities (especially Pictures or mental images), we re-encode or change the way we think about it. We literally change the way we store that thought, concept or memory in our mind, which changes how we feel.

Submodalities gets too deep for one blog post, including techniques like Mapping Across, Swish and Belief Change. But there is something simple we can do to illustrate the point.

Click the Play button below if you’d like to hear the next five paragraphs, rather than reading them (recommended).


For a moment, what I’d like you to do is just think of a time when you were totally motivated. Think of a specific time. As you think about that time, now, go back to that time in your mind. Float down into your body, looking through your own eyes, and see what you saw, hear what you heard and really feel the feelings of motivation. Really feel it.

Now, what I’d like you to do is notice that mental image. Notice what it looks like in your mind. And, just for a moment, what I’d like you to do is, push that picture far away from you. As a matter of fact, push it all the way over into the far corner of the room, and make it small and dark, and black and white, and see your self in the image, as though you were looking at a picture of you. Make any sounds go with it, too. Keep it there for just a moment.

Do you notice that you feel different about it? How as the feeling of motivation changed now? For most people, it is diminished, or totally gone.

Good, now here’s what we’re going to do so you can not only undestand submodalities, but also have an experience of NLP submodalities...

In a moment, when I give you the signal, I want you to have it come racing back at you, at 100 MPH, jump into the picture, and make it big and bright and color. Bring the sounds with, too… NOW!

Wow, notice how how that feeling of motivation comes racing back into your body!

That’s the power of Submodalities. We can literally change the way we remember, think and feel about things.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. What would you change in your life if you had the tools to change the way you think and feel about anything? How would your life improve if you could knock down all those obstacles in your way? Who would you help to overcome their obstacles?

Feel free to experiment with this, all the while knowing that, if a change doesn’t work for you, you can always put it back. Just return the mental image to the color, brightness, size distance and location that it was before you started.

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