States can encompass all of the following: your physiology, your emotions, the objects of your thought, how you present those objects to yourself, your level of awareness, your sense of congruence and alignment…
States can be positive or negative. They can be associated with different types of activity – learning, making decisions, making things, being sociable (or unsociable). Most important of all, states can be changed, and much NLP can be seen as ways of getting yourself or others into positive, ‘resourceful’, chosen states rather than having old mental patterns or life ‘out there’ imposing states on you.
You can model states from other people. Start collecting states from people you admire. The more choice of state that you have, the more choices you will have.
Your baseline state is the one which feels the most familiar to you, the one in which you feel the most at home. Often it seems so much a part of who we are that we do not even notice it. Your baseline state does not have to be pleasant or comfortable, just what you have become the most used to. It could involve low level anxiety, or negative internal dialogue. Or it may seem perfectly good, comfortable and effective.
Baseline states often go unexamined, so you may find it worthwhile to ask whether your baseline state is really aligned with who you are or who you want to be. Take a moment to think of your baseline state and ask:
Where did it come from?
Whose is it? Is it yours?
What do you feel like in this state?
What do you think about in this state?
Who are you in this state?
Does this state affect, or reflect, your beliefs and values?
What are your capabilities in this state?
What do you do when in this state?
Where and when is this state appropriate for you?
If your baseline state isn’t aligned to the person you want to be – change it! If you want to develop a new baseline state, make sure to use the concept of the well formed outcome.
States are covered in Module 3 of NLP Practitioner Training.