Who out there has heard about or tried using positive affirmations in an attempt to let go of negative thinking? Since I can't actually hear your replies, I'm going to assume that most of you reading this blog said yes! And I have a sneaky suspicion that you were unsuccessful in changing your negative thoughts into more positive and effective thoughts. Let me explain the frustrating reason for this before you give up on yourself and your ability to change.
As you already know, we all have a conscious and subconscious part of our mind. I am going to go into more detail about why we usually reject a positive affirmation even when we really want to change our negative thoughts. The critical factor (CF) is considered to be a part of our conscious level of awareness. The CF examines, filters and interprets incoming ideas. It is like a bouncer; if we are not on the guest list, we do not get into the party. Ideas or affirmations that are not already found within our subconscious mind get rejected by the CF. The CF wants the ideas of our conscious and subconscious minds to match.
Let's use the positive affirmation above as an example. Let's imagine a 36 year old woman named Sally decides she is tired of listening to her critical voice so she finds the above affirmation and commits to saying "I choose to be healthy, happy and full of love" every day for at least 21 days. The CF of her conscious mind hears her positive words and immediately checks with her subconscious so make sure it also has these same beliefs. If her subconscious mind has beliefs that she is unlovable and that she can only be happy if others are happy, then her CF rejects this positive affirmation. Sally eventually becomes frustrated with herself because she is still having negative thoughts about herself! She either read or was told that all she had to do was replace a negative thought with a positive thought. She did this for weeks on end without good results.! So Sally may even begin to believe she's a hopeless case.
The truth is that Sally isn't a hopeless case; she just doesn't understand fully how her mind works. If Sally were to come see me for help, I would put her into a hypnotic state where she is mentally and physically relaxed. When in this hypnotic state, her CF is also relaxed which allows new ideas (Everyday, I choose to be healthy, happy and full of love) to be imprinted upon her subconscious mind. After her hypnosis session, she can now say her positive affirmation daily to reinforce the new programming in her subconscious mind. Her CF now allows this affirmation to enter her psyche because this belief is now in both her conscious and subconscious awareness.
And now Sally is living her life out of this new belief and affirming it daily with her positive affirmation!
Before studying hypnotherapy and the mind, I "thought" I mainly used my conscious mind to effectively manage my day. I used to place so much importance on my ability to analyze, think and plan. Yet as I dove into researching the subconscious mind, I soon learned that I was completely wrong. I was shocked to learn that we only use 10-12% of our conscious mind and 88-90% of our subconscious mind!
As you can see from the image above, our subconscious mind is our long-term memory, meaning it stores everything that we have ever seen, heard, learned or experienced. The subconscious stores information every minute of every day, no matter what state of consciousness we are in. So when we experience an intense emotion, new ideas and beliefs become impressed upon our subconscious. The more intense the emotion, the deeper the belief becomes imprinted upon our subconscious. This explains why negative beliefs about ourselves can become stored in our subconscious and why it's nearly impossible to change our deep-seated beliefs on our own.
Another way to look at this is to view the subconscious mind like a computer or smart phone. Imagine our negative beliefs about ourselves (I'm stupid, I need to be perfect, I need to please others so that others will like me) are like software programs or apps for our phones. Our computers and phones are only as smart and productive as their programs and apps. Our subconscious mind is similar in that it does not decide which programs are effective or destructive. This part of is very obligatory and does what it's told. This fact about our subconscious mind is the foundation of using hypnosis and other techniques to change and update our programs or beliefs about ourselves and the world we live in.
Put another way, we have a choice to update our apps on our phones when an update becomes available. Sometimes we are hesitant to hit the update button because we don't know what the new changes will bring. Most of us are ready for change within ourselves when we notice certain behaviors are negatively affecting our relationships, our efficiency at work and our general happiness with life. Even though those certain beliefs are damaging to us, we are sometimes hesitant to ask for help. There's a universal fear of change with most people. The great part about working with a professionally trained hypnotherapist is that YOU get to decide what updates and changes you want for yourself. Self-empowerment is the foundation for the work that I do with clients. I want YOU to participate in your own healing process. I want YOU to decide how you want to live your life. Together we will get you there!
Jennifer is a Certified Clinical and Interpersonal Hypnotherapist who enjoys educating others about all things hypnosis.
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