I love learning any and all NLP and hypnotic tricks and techniques. But there is something magical about the moment something instantly clicks and you get to make changes for yourself and others straight away. It’s as if you really do have a magic wand and can just vanish problems away – swish, swish… Evanesco!

I was poking around John Overdurf’s website last week and experienced just such a magic moment.

I’ve been experimenting with ways to jolt myself out of unhelpful states. I get particularly stressed/panicked/wired/unbearable at big work events. My boss has dubbed my response state to such crises as the hotel printer almost running out of ink or the WiFi being patchy in a Yangon teahouse as ‘The Swirling Vortex Of Doom’.

Now, conceptually and intellectually, I ‘get’ techniques such as anchor collapses. The ability to metaphorically swim through the vortex into a pool of Zen-like tranquillity by rubbing my thumb and forefinger together strikes me as the stuff of real magic.

But, try as I might, I can’t identify a sufficiently convincing and powerful positive state to overcome the negative. We’ve already established my abhorrence of the word ‘relax’. And I cannot fathom how – or, crucially, why ­– I would switch, say, to states experienced while lying on a massage table or on my sofa in front of Netflix in a high-stakes, high-stress scenario. I care about my work and believe what we do is important, so there is nothing more offensive than someone floating about as if they’re on a meditation retreat when we need to get shit done.

No, all that’s happened is I’ve developed better strategies for dealing with ‘swirling vortex’ state. James Tripp’s “Is this trance serving me right now?” question is now my mantra in yanking myself out the very depths of the vortex. And I’ve also simply gotten better at, well, subterfuge: so now I rant to a select few people about a looming printing crisis for 30-minutes instead of to ALL of my co-workers, friends, family and anyone who’ll listen for days on end.

But, in listening to John Overdurf’s ‘opposite game’, I came across a genius idea…

If you don’t have an opposite for, say, getting on a plane without experiencing abject terror, how can you model it? Some lucky people might be able to override their fear with a blissful memory of being on a beach, but my subconscious mind simply ain’t buying that. I need to construct a new model for dealing with the same scenarios in a positive way. And identifying where you do and don’t have opposite states strikes me as a supremely clever technique – a fun linguistic distraction that, meanwhile, helps you build a new model of the universe.

I ADORE the instruction not to feel the opposite – so, if you switch ‘stressed’ for ‘relaxed’ you don’t have to feel, or urge the person you’re working with to feel, ‘relaxed’. It’s simply an exercise. Genius.

After listening to the technique (do listen), I instantly started turning recurring limiting belief statements in my life on their heads. I also tried this out on someone close to me. They declared that they’d “hit rock bottom” on account of them having the sniffles and spending the afternoon on the sofa. I wouldn’t try this on just anyone, but people who can separate their state from ‘truth’ and have a decent sense of humour can probably hack it. :-)

Here are some of my opposite statements. I know some people take these things terribly seriously, but I’m a big fan on laughing at oneself and making things ridiculous. So, if you try this, I think the important thing is to trust your instant, instinctual responses: the opposite of ‘be’ might strike you as ‘wasp’, so if you find yourself prevaricating over Steven Fry worthy antonyms or whipping out a thesaurus, then you’re not letting your subconscious mind do the work!

I am depressed.
You ma deliriously happy.

I always look terrible in photos.
You sometimes see wonderful in paintings.

No one will ever love me.
Anyone won’t never hate you.

This is the worst day of my life.
This is the best nanosecond of my death.

I’ve hit rock bottom.
I’ve missed roll top.

I’m really stressed out.
You’re moderately calmed in.

I am a weirdo and I don’t fit in.
You were the normal and you do unfit out.

I’m so unlucky.
You’re la-tea-doe lucky.

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