Programming Your Subconscious Mind

If you’ve ever had an idea pop into your head while concentrating on something else, you’ve witnessed the subconscious at work.

Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung are two thinkers who have delved into the intricate workings of the subconscious. Freud described it as the reservoir of thoughts, feelings, and memories outside our conscious awareness. Jung emphasized it shapes our perceptions and actions.

Recent research, including studies by Dr. Bruce Lipton and Dr. Joe Dispenza, highlight the incredible influence our subconscious has on our daily lives. Lipton’s groundbreaking research on epigenetics reveals how our beliefs can impact our genetic expression. Dispenza explores how the subconscious can help create lasting change in our habits and behaviors.

One of the earliest motivational books I read was Robert G. Collier’s 1927 classic, “The Secret of the Ages.” He describes a problem-solving technique I still use today. When I’m wrestling with something, I’ll note all the factors associated with the puzzle and read them aloud. At that point, I engage in some mindful activity to focus my conscious mind elsewhere. I’m often pleased to discover how my subconscious mind keeps working on the puzzle and present the solution while my focus is elsewhere.

Our minds are much like our bodies. They react to what we feed them. We have neighbors who are addicted to a so-called news channel which parrots messages designed to influence opinions about the world state, pointing blame for perceived and often unproven messaging with the objective of advancing a specific point of view.

The chestnut, “All media has a point of view: challenge it,” is often ignored. We are drawn to narratives which reinforce our own belief systems. It’s no small irony how these belief systems are self-programmed into our subconscious minds by what we feed them.

The Big Lie concept is a potent example.

“The Big Lie” is a propaganda technique associated with Nazi Germany, coined by Adolf Hitler in his book “Mein Kampf.” In the context of Nazi propaganda, the term refers to the use of a colossal falsehood, repeated incessantly, to deceive the public and manipulate their perception of reality. People are more likely to believe a massive lie because they would not expect something so brazenly false could be propagated.

How can we program our subconscious to guide us in the right direction?

  • Cultivate self-awareness. Reflect on thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. Identify any limiting or negative thought patterns which may be holding you back. And challenge every paradigm or “fact,” to validate or discredit it.
  • Research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests positive affirmations can reshape the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us. Create empowering messages aligned with your goals and repeat them with conviction. These often begin with, “I am…” “I can…” or “I will…”
  • Dr. Maxwell Maltz championed visualization. The creation of cerebral movies depicting desired outcomes can produce a mental image which communicates with your subconscious, paving the way for success.
  • Studies in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement and other reputable periodicals highlight the benefits of mindfulness and meditation in rewiring the brain. Such practices can enhance your ability to focus, reduce stress, and create a positive mental environment for subconscious programming.
  • Research in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis supports hypnotherapy as a method to access the subconscious and reprogram ingrained patterns.
  • Psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered the power of repetition in memory formation. Expose your subconscious to positive messages, reinforcing your desired beliefs and goals.

What is sometimes misunderstood is how the subconscious can effect decisions we make with our conscious mind. In an era where our screens rule and we can filter what we consume to affirm viewpoints which may or may not be valid, understanding and exercising our subconscious in a positive manner can be life changing.

This oft recited poem, sometimes attributed to golfer Moe Norman, gives us a sense for the interaction between conscious thought and the unconscious and how one can influence the other.

I have a little robot, that goes around with me,
I tell him what I’m thinking, I tell him what I see.
I tell my little robot all my hopes and fears.
It listens and remembers everything it hears.
At first my little robot followed my command.
But after years of training, it’s gotten out of hand.
It does not care what’s right or wrong,
Or what is false or true.
No matter what I try now., it tells ME what to do!

Self-talk is the most powerful tool to program your subconscious mind. So, when you talk to yourself… watch your language.