Health ‘starts with your emotions’

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A desire to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to people’s health is what prompted former Oamaru nurse Kate Finn to make a move into the world of neurolinguistic programming (NLP).

After working for most of her professional career in nursing, Mrs Finn found herself frustrated that a lot of the chronic disease she saw in hospitals stemmed from lifestyle choices and the emotional state of the patient, and these were issues that were often neglected during treatment.

“So many people are in there because of negative behaviours . . . poor sleep, poor exercise tolerance, poor diet, and often negative thinking about themselves, which would lead to poor health outcomes,” Mrs Finn said.

“So I always identified that human behaviour was a big part of health, I really learned that from my patients.

“I think the health model’s really great with trauma and surgery, but I think in chronic disease, we could be doing much better.”

Mrs Finn said all health “starts with your emotions”

“If you’re feeling good, you’re going to have a completely different day. You’re going to sleep better, you’re going to probably eat better, and you’re going to be more motivated to exercise.

“I experienced NLP myself and had huge results, and that’s why I now work in it. And I would love to, one day, see emotional wellness in the acute setting, to really help people deal with the root cause of their negative behaviours.”

Mrs Finn said NLP was about emotional wellness and success.

“Basically, they studied successful people in the past, and they looked at the habits of those people and the behaviours of those people, and they found that success can actually be taught. It’s not something you were born with. You can actually learn to be successful in any field you want.”

Focusing on a problem, and talking about a problem, kept people in the problem, Mrs Finn said. Whereas NLP moved people towards a solution.

“I teach people effective language tools, and how to visualise the life they want. Which is how the brain works naturally anyway.”

During the Covid-19 Level 3 and 4 lockdown, Mrs Finn said she was probably the busiest she had ever been.

“I’ve been working with a group of 40,000 nurses on a Facebook page to assist them with their mental health.

“I did daily videos for that .. teaching them the tools of NLP, so that they could have a better quality of life in that environment really.”

She also did live videos on her own Facebook page, offering people free advice on how to deal with the different pressures lockdown threw up for them.

“It’s that real sense of loss of control for people that they struggle with, and the unknown.”

Mrs Finn works with sportspeople, business people, children – anybody who wanted to make behavioural change.

“It’s things like mental fitness for sports, or if people want to change their diet, stop smoking, or gambling – anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress.

“NLP is steeped in self-responsibility. It says if you want to make the change, here’s the toolbox, but you’ve got to commit to making that change for yourself. You’re responsible for your thoughts, which then determines your emotions and then your behaviours. It’s all about self-responsibility. There’s unfortunately no blame game in NLP.”