The power of our subconscious mind
What we do subconsciously – without thinking about it – we do very well.
Every time we need to learn a new skill we initially have to consciously think about it. As children we had to learn how to tie our shoelaces, and when we first started practising that it would have been a very difficult thing to do. For most of us this nowadays would seem like a simple act – that’s because, after practising so many times, it has become something we do automatically.
If you just try to consciously think about how we learned that process now – the way we had to co-ordinate both the left and right hands, learn how to form a loop and wrap the other lace around it. We then had to practise catching hold of the second loop and pulling it through the first loop to make the bow, all the time concentrating intently to make sure we held tight on the bits we needed to and at the same time relaxed our grip on the other bits of the lace, just enough so that they could slide into place without the whole thing unravelling. Of course, there is Velcro now to make life a little easier! But the fact remains that it is now far quicker for us to actually tie our shoelaces than try to access the memory with our conscious mind and tell somebody how to do it.
The same can be said for all of the tasks we do every day without really thinking about them consciously anymore. Driving, typing, playing a musical instrument, reading, writing, sports...if you practice any of these things regularly you will get better and better at them until they become automatic processes.
This automatic way of doing things occurs with our bad habits and traits as well as our good habits and skills. When we first pick up a cigarette, for instance, it feels very strange to us. We aren’t used to it and perhaps we will cough, feel sick or lightheaded. We do it again, and then again and again and before we know it, it becomes a subconscious habit, filed away in our brains with all the other useful information that we might need to make our lives easier. The subconscious doesn’t recognise what is right or wrong, what is useful or what is bad for us. It just knows learned behaviour and makes sure that those habits are protected.
Another common habit that many people have is that of anxious or negative thinking. Repetition creates neural pathways in the brain that become stronger and just like in the example of tying shoelaces or smoking, the more we engage in negative thinking the better we get at it – it becomes our normal and preferred response.
When we use hypnosis and the trance state to change our thoughts, feelings or behaviour we can by-pass the conscious part of the mind and communicate directly with this subconscious part of ourselves. By doing this we can make changes that sometimes seem effortless to us, thereby allowing new behaviours and patterns to seem easier and more natural. It's a great way to harness the power of our subconscious to work in our favour so that we can empower ourselves to get the changes we want in our lives.
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About Vicky Tunaley
Vicky is a solution-focused hypnotherapist specialising in anxiety disorders and depression, although she also works with a wide variety of other conditions, such as stopping smoking, confidence issues, weight management etc. The solution-focused approach combines positive psychology with hypnosis to create a strong environment for change.