How to use the power of the subconscious mind
Have you ever tried to make a change in your life and found that it feels like running in the sand? Whether it involves adopting a new diet, exercise, habits, ceasing dependencies, or anything else, changing behaviour is one of the hardest things any of us will ever try to do.
This is why most New Years' Eve resolutions are abandoned by Valentine's day. After which the inevitable imposter syndrome and voice of self-hate and self-blame become firmly lodged within our heads. We compare ourselves to those around us and think if only we had the same amount of determination or willpower.
Here is the real secret that you need to hear – lasting permanent change has nothing to do with willpower or determination for that matter. We all have unconscious, automatic processes in the brain that are designed to make life easier, but which also make it very difficult to resist well-established behavioural patterns using logic alone.
Talking therapies deal with the logical, conscious mind – which is why sometimes it can take years to have a breakthrough. Logically you might understand what your patterns are but it might take years for you to change them because they are driven by emotion and in a battle between logic and emotion – emotion will always win out.
The secret to making change, therefore, lies in learning to work with your subconscious.
What is the subconscious?
The subconscious mind governs all our automatic reactions – for example, swimming, riding a cycle or driving a car. We are able to do these activities without actively thinking about each of the individual steps – for example, to kick our legs, which pedals to press, which mirror to look at. We can be aware of these actions when we start to think about them.
Within our subconscious minds also exist automatic learned emotional reactions – an example of this is when our heart races when we have to give a presentation in front of a large audience. This automatic reaction comes from the fact that our subconscious has learnt that we are in danger of being humiliated, if we spoke out maybe our friends laughed at an answer we gave in school or we forgot the lines in the school play.
How can we work with the subconscious mind to accelerate change?
Releasing old memories or patterns
Some experiences, especially when we are younger and don't have a very strong understanding of the world, leave a very strong emotional impact. Holding on to these strong feelings – anger, resentment, fear etc. – can keep us acting in automatic ways to soothe ourselves, for example overeating.
When we become conscious of the reason behind our emotional triggers we can gain control over our emotional reactions.
When we learn something new, we create new connections between our neurons. We rewire our brains to adapt to new circumstances. This happens on a daily basis, but it’s also something that we can encourage and stimulate.
The new neural pathways get stronger with repetition so if you want to change a habit or behaviour the best thing to do is to replace this with a better thought pattern and practice!
Using audios to reach the theta brainwave state
Studies have shown that we have electrical impulses in the brain. These brain waves are oscillating electrical voltages in the brain measuring just a few millionths of a volt. There are five widely recognised brain waves - beta, alpha, theta and delta.
Scientifically you are in the theta brainwave state where you are the most relaxed and clear. It is also the most creative brain state and your mind is freed to come up with the most amazing solutions. This is the same brainwave you would experience if you were doing any focused activity – like exercising or reading a book.
You can use hypnosis audios to lead you into a theta brainwave state. This practice can be even more powerful than meditation in helping you change your mindset because, while meditation effectively allows you to relax and monitor your thoughts, most people don’t get into a theta-brainwave state during meditation.
The theta brainwave state will enable you to program these new ideas into your subconscious so 95-99% of your day can work from these new habits, beliefs, and goals you want to achieve. As with the example above the more often we listen to the audio the more deeply it gets embedded into our subconscious mind.
Work with an expert
Very often we can be completely unaware of the deep underlying events or emotional blocks driving some of our automatic behaviour. An experienced hypnotherapist can help you access the memories that created those patterns by leading you into the theta brainwave state. I often get asked how the process works.
Imagine if you were trying to remember a memory in a crowded room with 15 people trying to get your attention and calling out for you. Another 30 or so people are trying to have animated conversations with each other. You can also hear the traffic outside. Somewhere in this room, a child was crying. That’s how crowded our minds are when we are in our awake state, living in the world.
Now imagine you were taken by somebody into an empty room. You can’t hear any of the noise from the street because of the noise-proof glass. You’ve got noise cancellation headphones so all the commotion of the first room can’t reach you. That is exactly what being led into a hypnotic state can feel like. You can focus and be present without distractions.
Once you experience the traumatic event in this state it loses the emotional power it has over you and the rocket launches you into the changes you want to make.
If you are feeling stuck you could have subconscious beliefs and biases that are blocking your progress - the good news is that this is definitely something you can change by leveraging the power of your subconscious to work for you instead of against you.