Your unconscious mind has immense power in controlling your life experiences: from the types of food you eat to the actions you take each day, the level of income you earn, even how you react to stressful situations.
Can it even aid in our ability to recover from a stroke? Is it helpful with cancer? What about other illnesses and impact on the immune system as a whole?
Our minds are powerful and every bit of it is guided by your unconscious beliefs and interpretations.
In short, your unconscious mind is like the auto-pilot feature on an airplane. It has been pre-programmed to follow a specific route and you cannot deviate from that route unless you change the directions programmed into it first.
What Is The Unconscious (Subconscious) Mind?
The “unconscious” is the part of your mind that operates below your normal level of waking consciousness.
Right now you’re primarily using your conscious mind to read these words and absorb their meaning, but beneath that mental focus, your unconscious mind is busily working behind the scenes, absorbing or rejecting information based on an existing perception you have of the world around you.
This existing perception began forming when you were an infant. With every experience, your unconscious mind soaks in information like a sponge. It rejected nothing while you were young because you didn’t have any pre-existing beliefs to contradict what it perceived. It simply accepted that all the information you received during your early childhood was true.
You can probably see why this becomes a problem later in life! Every time someone called you stupid, worthless, slow, lazy, or worse, your unconscious mind just stored the information away for reference.
You may also have received messages about your potential in life or limitations you’ll face based on your physical abilities, skin color, gender, or economic status.
By the time you were 7 or 8 years old, you already had a solid foundation of belief based on all that programming from people in your life, television shows you watched, and other environmental influences.
How Does This ‘Old’ Programming Affect You Now?
Now that you’re an adult, you may think that you can simply discard the hurtful or untrue messages you absorbed during your early life, but it’s not quite that simple.
Remember that all this information is stored below your level of conscious awareness. The only time you become aware of it is when it limits your progress in creating a balanced, successful, and productive life.
Have you ever tried to achieve a goal and kept sabotaging yourself at every turn? Maddening, isn’t it? It’s important to know that you’re not defective or doomed to fail no matter what you do.
More likely you’ve got some old, programmed messages that conflict with the new conditions you want to create.
This is excellent news because it means you can achieve just about anything if you first take the time to reprogram your unconscious mind!
The Programming Is Still Going On
Before we discover how to reprogram your unconscious, it’s important to know that the programming continues to this day. With every experience you have, you draw certain conclusions and store the messages that will guide your future actions.
For example, what kind of message do you think would be stored if you were rejected by someone you cared about?
Your unconscious mind (that clever detective) would immediately go hunting through your memories and find other examples of rejection (like that time your best friend dumped you to hang out with the more popular kids) and draw a conclusion that you’re somehow unworthy or unlovable and deserve to be rejected.
Now, here’s the interesting thing: if you have an experience that conflicts with an already established belief, your unconscious mind will either reject it or reframe it so it goes along with your existing view of reality.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you have an underlying belief that you’re unattractive, and an attractive person expresses an interest in getting to know you better.
Most likely the first thing you’re going to think is that it must be a joke or a cruel trick. You won’t believe that this person could find you attractive because you already believe that you’re unattractive.
Beneath the surface of your conscious awareness, your unconscious mind is screaming, “No way!! This person is way too attractive to be interested in me, something isn’t right here…”
Then you’ll either reject that person before they can reject you, or otherwise do something to sabotage what could have been a great relationship.
The same thing happens when you struggle to achieve your goals. Eventually you start to believe that you aren’t capable of success, so you come to expect failure and end up doing just that repeatedly!
You can probably imagine many other situations where your unconscious mind limits you, but reprogramming it is a simple matter if you know how.
How To Reprogram Your Subconscious Mind
There are many ways to overwrite the limiting or damaging messages that are stored in your unconscious mind.
You could work simultaneously with all of these strategies, but it’ll be much more effective if you pick just one or two methods to start. You want to give them your full attention rather than skipping around and diluting your efforts.
Remember, you can always incorporate additional techniques over time.
Have you ever considered the effect of your environment on your unconscious mind?
Remember that your unconscious mind is absorbing information constantly and drawing conclusions and forming beliefs based on that information. If your daily environment is filled with negativity and strife, imagine what kinds of messages are being absorbed into your mind.
Your first action is to strictly limit the negativity you’re exposed to from this moment on. Avoid watching the news unless you absolutely must and avoid spending too much time with ‘toxic’ people.
Instead, seek out positive information to read and watch, and spend most of your time with positive, successful people. Over time you’ll find that more encouraging messages are being absorbed into your mind, which will alter the way you see yourself and your potential.
Your unconscious mind responds well to pictures. Visualization is a great way to program your mind with positive, empowering images. Try spending 10-15 minutes a day visualizing positive scenes that feature you and your life experiences.
Here are some things you may want to visualize:
✴ An abundance of money
✴ A beautiful home
✴ Fulfilling relationships
✴ An expensive car
✴ Passionate work
✴ Exotic vacations
✴ A slender, fit body
✴ Anything else you wish to draw into your life
As you do this consistently, you end up redrawing the negative pictures stored from your past experiences, fears, worries, and doubts.
Can Visualization Improve Your Health?
First, you must understand the need to boost the power of visualization even further - to emit strong, positive emotions while you picture these wonderful things in your mind. Allow feelings of love, joy, gratitude, and peace to flow through you as if you were truly having these experiences.
Your unconscious mind will absorb the messages as if they’re real! This is the true beauty of visualization – the power to bypass limiting messages and focus on pleasing images, all of which are being absorbed right into your unconscious to be replayed later.
For example, when you visualize lifting your right hand, it stimulates the same part of the brain that is activated when you lift your right hand. This amazing discovery offers new possibilities for healing and recovery in areas such as:
Can it help heal from a stroke?
When a person has a stroke due to a blood clot in a brain artery, blood cannot reach the tissue that the artery once fed with oxygen and nutrients, and that tissue dies. This tissue death then spreads to the surrounding area that does not receive the blood anymore.
However, if a person with this stroke imagines moving the affected arm or leg, brain blood flow to the affected area increases and the surrounding brain tissue is saved. Imagining moving a limb, even after it has been paralyzed after a stroke, increases brain blood flow enough to diminish the amount of tissue death.
This is a very clear indicator of the power of visualization.
Extending the use of hypnotherapy beyond visualization can be very helpful in assisting a stroke survivor to deal with anxiety and depression that may develop. Both levels, the physical rehab, and the emotional healing, can be accomplished in the same hypnosis session.
Several mind-body interventions have been studied for use with cancer patients, primarily measuring outcomes relating to pain control, anxiety reduction, and enhancing quality of life.
Mind-body interventions included are hypnosis, imagery/relaxation, meditation, yoga, and creative therapies. Current evidence supports the efficacy of hypnosis and imagery/relaxation for control of pain and anxiety during cancer treatments. Meditation is supported for reductions in stress and improvements in mood, quality of life, and sleep problems.
Many studies have shown that simply visualizing T-cell production (which enhances the immune response) does increase the body’s production and distribution of those infection-fighting cells.
Athletes have known about this power for a long time. Visualizations under hypnosis allow gymnasts, for example, to execute for the first time several complex tricks that they had been working on for over a year. The gymnasts were able to eliminate timing errors in the tricks, to increase flexibility, and, possibly, to concentrate strength. Visualization has also been shown to improve high jumpers clearing the bar.
This principle clearly applies to mental attitude and emotions, such as fear. When people focus on their fears it increases blood flow to the brain regions that process fear, which will stop your actions.
If you focus on a positive outcome, blood flow in the brain is enhanced in areas that activate initiating goal-directed action. It is important not to let fear leak into your positive visualization, because if you visualize while worrying, it is like painting with a shaky brush.
For example, a powerful treatment for a phobia like the fear of snakes is to gradually increase visualizing the anxiety producing aspects of snakes while maintaining a relaxed and positive attitude. Hypnosis is a valuable method for staying relaxed even in the face of an imagined stress.
The same techniques can be used in helping someone to change their belief system about low self-esteem, or an inability to create abundance.
Hypnosis is a powerful use of visualization.
Your brain will act in accordance with your visions. It works in both illness and in wellness either for your benefit or not.
You get to choose.
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