The subconscious mind is most impressionable during childhood. However studies in neuroplasticity have shown that the human brain remains programmable even in adulthood. Both in childhood and adulthood our subconscious mind learns through 1) repetition 2) is conditioned through experiences that have significant emotional content for us growing up and 3) through trauma and risk it learns what to keep us safe from.
One of the main roles of the subconscious mind is to ensure our survival and well being at all times. It does this by pattern recognition: if this situation looks like a previous scary situation then we prepare to defend, avoid, run away, shut down or get aggressive.
However, sometimes it has learned to protect us from what is no longer dangerous or harmful. It does so because it once was dangerous to us (or seemed that way). We may have had a neglectful parent and now we subconsciously avoid getting close to people. We may have had a frightening experience in a theme park and now can’t fly or are petrified of heights. We may have had a horrible class mate or teacher who ridiculed us and now can’t present or mingle easily.
The challenge is to re-frame what we have encountered in life that we don’t like, have learned is dangerous (but really isn’t) and that holds us back from fulfilling or potential in such a way that the subconscious mind doesn’t react with fear or attack, but instead works with us to attain our goal.
We achieve this by getting the protective response to work in our favour rather than against us. If the subconscious mind can be made to see how not doing what we want to do will be dangerous to our survival or wellbeing then we can get it on side.
Two easy ways to access the subconscious so that we can re-program it and solicit a favourable response is through 1) Curiosity and 2) emotion….. then repeat, repeat, repeat.
Template to use:
What if (Curiosity) I wasn’t so (state problem) about (state subject)
I wouldn’t be (state negative effects)
If I wasn’t (state negative effects) then I would (state benefits – especially any that pertain to security and survival)
If I was (state benefits) then I could (further benefits – emotionally invested)
By writing out these statements as it relates to our problem and then reading the statement again and again (while feeling the feelings) we can increase the chances of making a change and thus achieving what we want.
Example: I am negative and fearful of taking a flight.
What if I wasn’t so afraid and resistant about flying?
I wouldn’t be so acidic towards my husband, fell awkward and juvenile when the subject comes up, not go anywhere that exciting, lose sleep and have to be drugged to go, row and ruin my last few days before coming back.
If I wasn’t so stressed and negative then I would be in better form and better company around holiday time, be relaxed and normal in airports and get the most out of my holiday.
If I was relaxed and looking forward to flying then I could go to Rio – I always wanted to go there, hike the Canyon, see the world. I would feel like I’ve over come something and that feels triumphant. I would feel more in control, safe and secure. I could go for that promotion that requires business trips – earn more money.
What if I loved flying and got really excited about them? Hmmmm that would feel good, I’d feel powerful, capable, able and it would be fun.
Have fun with this and have a great week.
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