Your subconscious 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, and even how you react to stressful situations.
Every bit of it is guided by your subconscious beliefs and interpretations.
In short, your subconscious 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 Subconscious Mind?
The “subconscious” 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 subconscious 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 subconscious 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 of 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 subconscious 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 of 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 subconscious mind!
The Programming Is Still Going On
Before we discover how to reprogram your subconscious, it’s important to know that the programming still 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 subconscious 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 subconscious 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 subconscious 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 over and over again!
You can probably imagine many other situations where your subconscious mind limits you, but reprogramming it is a simple matter if you know how.
How To Reprogram Your Subconscious Mind
There are many different ways to overwrite the limiting or damaging messages that are stored in your subconscious 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 subconscious mind?
Remember that your subconscious 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 subconscious 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:
As you do this consistently, you end up redrawing the negative pictures stored from your past experiences, fears, worries, and doubts.
To boost the power of visualization even further, be sure 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 subconscious 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 subconscious to be replayed later.
Affirmations are another effective way to install positive messages into your subconscious. They work best if you follow a few simple rules:
- Word them positively, in the present tense. Say “I am confident and successful” rather than “I will be confident and successful” because focusing on a future condition does not compute with your subconscious mind – it knows only this moment. Also, use positive statements. Saying “I am not a failure” is computed as “I am a failure” since your subconscious cannot process negatives.
- Call up the corresponding feelings. Saying “I am wealthy” while feeling poor only sends conflicting messages to your subconscious! Whatever words you’re saying at the time, strive to feel the corresponding emotions because your subconscious will be more apt to believe it. You could add, “I am in the process of becoming wealthy”, you are not there but have started the process, and it is believable.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat. Affirmations don’t work if you say them just once or twice. Recite them many times throughout the day for the best results. The good thing about this is that you can say affirmations to yourself, so they can fit seamlessly into your routine.
Brain Entrainment Binaural Beats
Another popular method is the use of audio recordings that deliberately alter the frequency of your brainwaves. It may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but reports from people who’ve tried these audio programs are overwhelmingly positive.
Your brainwaves fall into a specific frequency depending on what you’re doing at any given time:
“Binaural beats” result when two tones are played at differing frequencies, triggering your brainwaves to follow a different pattern. For example, if you wanted to shift from stressed to relaxed you would listen to an audio that triggers the alpha state.
These audio programs can help you reprogram your subconscious mind by creating a more receptive forum for installing positive messages. Research has shown that your subconscious mind is more receptive to new information when you’re very relaxed, such as in the alpha or theta states.
Using brain entrainment audio programs along with affirmations or visualization can be a powerful combination because your subconscious mind lets down its defenses so it can easily absorb any message you wish to program in. Simply relax and focus on positive images!
Hypnosis can be effective in much the same way as brain entrainment programs, except without the use of brainwave-altering frequencies.
Instead, the hypnotist gradually talks you into a more relaxed and receptive state and delivers empowering, positive messages to your subconscious mind.
Self-hypnosis is another popular option; you simply use pre-recorded audio programs instead of a live hypnosis session. You can even record your own self-hypnosis CDs so you’ll hear your own voice reciting positive affirmations while you’re in a relaxed state.
How To Know If Your Reprogramming Efforts Are Working
One of the most challenging aspects of reprogramming your subconscious mind is that you can’t peek inside and see what’s still there that might need to be changed!
Instead, you’ll have to develop a strong sense of self-awareness so you can catch self-sabotaging behavior before it gets out of hand. Even so, there are still some clear signs of progress that you may recognize:
- You begin feeling stronger, more confident and happier.
- You find yourself more willing to take risks and face challenges.
- Your dreams and goals don’t seem overwhelming anymore – just exciting.
- You feel a deeper sense of inner peace, as if inner conflicts are dissolving.
- You attract more opportunities to expand and grow in every area of your life.
In short, you’ll know when changes are taking place in your subconscious mind because you’ll notice a shift in both your inner and outer being. The evidence is usually undeniable!
Consistent, Persistent Reinforcement
It’s important to give this reprogramming process time to work. Don’t expect to see immediate changes (occasionally that can happen, but more often it takes time).
Be very consistent and persistent with the methods you choose to install more positive messages into your subconscious mind. As soon as these transformations become apparent, you’ll feel motivated to keep moving forward, but until that happens, stick with it and know that these changes are lifelong, powerful, and well worth waiting for!
Written by Paul McCoy, Paul@tidalcoach.com