by Olive Hickmott and Andrew Bendefy

The role of state

Your state is your way of being at any given moment. This is not just your mood or present emotion, as it also includes your energy level, the way you hold and use your body and the way you think. You are always in some kind of state, though you might not be aware of it unless it is very different from your everyday, baseline state.

Your state has an impact on everything you do. If you are feeling happy and relaxed, you will perform a task better than if you are stressed out. Even if you do not have dyslexia, it can be extremely difficult to read and comprehend a document when you are in a stressed and agitated state. Imagine what it would be like if a reading difficulty was adding to the stress.

Let’s try a little experiment!


Imagine two scenarios:

Scenario 1:

  • It is Friday afternoon and things are quiet.
  • A lot of the people normally in the office are out.
  • It’s nice and peaceful.
  • You are relaxed and looking forward to the weekend.
  • You are pleased with a really productive week.
  • The team’s motivated around clearly identified goals.

Scenario 2:

  • It’s Friday afternoon and you have to get a proposal in the mail in the next 60 minutes.
  • It’s really noisy and the phones just don’t stop ringing.
  • Four people are working with you to meet the deadline, but they’re now having an argument over the best way to do things.
  • One key member of the team is still not back from lunch.
  • And there are other tasks which were due and have not been done.

What do you think your state would be in each scenario?

What do you think your productivity and task accuracy would be in each scenario?

Now imagine also having a reading difficulty in each scenario.

Your state has a big effect on the impact of dyslexia, so managing your state is a vital tool in your toolbox. If you have dyslexia, start to notice when it seems easier to read. What contributes to this?

Interestingly, people can have remarkable differences in their dyslexic symptoms, according to their state. This means that dyslexia is not a ‘fixed’ thing. It changes, depending on state.

And another experiment...

Before progressing we would like to enable those who find reading easy to understand the experience of others.

Assuming the reader is competent at spelling and reading, please select a word that is reasonably hard for you. Without writing anything down on paper, see if you can visualise, or picture, this word, somewhere out in front of you. Can you ‘see’ all the letters and are they still? If so, you are probably a good reader and speller. Just imagine what it would be like to read and spell without this capability.

Most people at this point look perplexed and say something like ‘it would be awful, impossible’. This is exactly the experience of those who don’t ‘see’ clear words. Watch their eyes: they will drift down to the floor, and if you ask the person how they feel, they will no doubt say something like ‘stupid’. In addition, some people who have difficulty reading find that all the letters are moving around on the page – just imagine for a moment just how hard that would be. But everyone can learn how to see clear words (for literacy) and numbers (for mental arithmetic) and you can find out how easy this is.

Use the tools and techniques in NLP – State Management and Emotional Intelligence – Self Management to manage your state so it is better suited to what you need to do.