Updated: Oct 28, 2018
Your brain is AMAZING!
I’m just going to throw a few ideas out there for you to ponder for a minute or two:
Your subconscious is very literal.
Your subconscious doesn’t hear the ‘negation’ of a statement (this one can be tricky)
What you concentrate upon grows! You’ve heard this through new-age narratives, I’m sure.
Your subconscious is a superb research librarian, eager to please, and always helpful.
If you know anything about Freud’s ID, Ego and Super-Ego, the roadblocks your mind puts up are pretty much controlled by your ID. If you haven’t heard of ID, you can think of it as an irrational, demanding, and very stubborn three year old having a temper tantrum because it wants what it wants RIGHT NOW!!
So what do I mean by all of this?
Your subconscious is very powerful and can and will control your physical body. I’ll give you a few examples. Think about lemons and the taste of lemon juice. Your mouth just puckered up a bit didn’t it? And you probably began to salivate—completely involuntarily. No effort required. Now imagine someone rubbing two pieces of Styrofoam together or fingernails scratching on a blackboard. Did you get goosebumps? Not surprised. Finally, think about the last time someone was yawning beside you. *Y-A-W-N* and again… *Y-A-W-N*… did it trigger an urge in you to yawn as well?
Interestingly, none of these responses are conscious or voluntary. You didn’t choose for your mouth to pucker or choose to yawn. It just happened. So, yep… your subconscious mind is very powerful.
Now that we’ve established that the unconscious or subconscious mind can have a very real effect on the body, let’s discuss points 1-5 above.
1) Your subconscious is very literal
When I mention your subconscious being very literal, I mean just that. It doesn’t understand nuance, sarcasm or ironic statements and will, quite literally, take you at your word. We’ve all read stories about that person who said, I’m dying for vacation… and then died while on vacation. Or, someone dying for a promotion and then died before they got one. That’s my point. Be careful and be aware of your speech. Your subconscious is listening.
2) Your subconscious doesn't hear the negation of a statement
As mentioned above, this one can be a bit tricky to understand. It’s not that your subconscious mind doesn’t hear your negative or trash talk—it laps that stuff up! Instead, what I mean is, learn to phrase things with the end result in mind. For example:
Don’t forget to….
Don’t be late!
Don't stop / quit!
Use this instead:
Take a deep breath and relax.
Do you see the difference? When your brain hears ‘don’t forget’, the ‘not’ part of don’t [do not] is tossed in the trash bin, and what’s left over is: do forget . Being the great mind that it is, it thinks, ‘Oh, great, I’ve done that before. I can definitely do it again!’
3) What you concentrate on GROWS!
Have you ever been doing something, completely engrossed, and later, you or someone else will notice a huge bruise or perhaps some blood running from a cut … and you didn’t even notice getting hurt? Then, once you’ve seen it and noticed it, THEN it starts to ache?
Conversely, have you ever been lying in bed, watching the clock, tossing and turning, and thought, ‘I can’t sleep! I’ll never get to sleep!’… and you were right? The more you worried about it, the harder it became until you had spent all night being frustrated and only managed to finally fall asleep ten minutes before your alarm went off?
Concentrating on an injury, makes it hurt more. Concentrating on insomnia, makes it worse. As pointed out in the first paragraph, your mind is a very powerful organ, so be careful what thoughts you feed it! Rather than concentrating on not sleeping, concentrate on relaxation, or on clearing your mind of disturbing thoughts so you can rest. While you’re training your mind and your thoughts to sleep deeply and well, you may find this helpful.
4) Your subconscious is a superb research librarian
Let’s do another experiment. For fun-zies, think to yourself, ‘I am such a loser! And then allow your mind to fill in these blanks
I really screwed up when I ________________________________.
I made a huge mistake when I ______________________________.
I’ll never be able to____________________________________.
Notice how quickly your subconscious mind entered the stacks of your brain, filtered, sorted, collated and came up with fabulous examples to support the thought that you are indeed, a loser.
Now, let’s try it again, with a different theme. Think to yourself, ‘Actually, I’m pretty amazing!’ and then fill in these blanks:
I did a really good job when I _________________________________________________.
I pulled out all stops, going above and beyond when I _____________________________.
Y’know, everyone has always told me how well I do _______________________________.
I feel very proud of myself when people point out my _____________________________.
Did you notice how fast your subconscious was able to fill in those blanks as well? Even though the thoughts were completely contrary to one another?
Your subconscious is indeed an exceptionally good research librarian and makes a great servant. Be careful when it takes on the role of master though (like through completely unhelpful self-talk.
5) Your ID-Brain
You’re sitting in your boss’s office and you want a raise. You’ve thought it out thoroughly and know that there are very good, solid reasons why you deserve one. You’ve researched the average salaries in your industry and know your worth. You’ve had excellent performance reviews and you’ve prepared your speech in advance. Your boss is sitting there looking at you, waiting for you to explain why you’re there and… BOOM! Your carefully rehearsed speech flies out the window. You start to cry or you start to get angry. You flub the entire exchange, your boss is disgusted with you and instead of a wage increase your boss now thinks you’re unstable and calls the company psychologist to assess you. [Exaggerated example, but you get the point.]
WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK??!!
Let’s go back, waaaaaaaaay back, to when you first learned how to get what you wanted.
Before you could rationally ask for what you needed, how did you let your parents know that you were hungry? Your diaper was dirty? You were bored or lonely? Your tummy hurt? That’s right! You screamed or cried. And it worked reaaaaalllllly well! So well, in fact, that without even realizing it, you decided to add this great tool to your everyday arsenal!
Because it’s so deeply ingrained, and because ID-Brain is unreasonable and only concerned with what it wants, the behavior can be really hard to eliminate on your own- even when it’s become self-sabotaging. To finally break through ID-Brain responses, you could try self hypnosis or, if you’re ready to move forward and want to pull out the big guns, I'm always here to help!
Janet Nahirniak, BEd., MSc.
Master Hypnotist, Certified Hypnotherapist