How Affirmations Affect The Subconscious Mind
A few years ago, I read an interesting article about how to use affirmations effectively. The writer discussed using positive statements to change your subconscious mind. He explained that our subconscious minds are like a computer program. They process information, store it, and make decisions from there.
By adding positive thoughts into your brain, you are changing what goes in those memory files. You’re creating new memories or replacing negative ones with more positive ones. It is said that if you repeat something enough, the mind will eventually believe it as true.
I have used this theory in my own life several times. For example, when I was struggling to lose weight, I would constantly tell myself “You can do this!” Or, “You’ve done it before, you can again.” My body would respond by dropping a couple of pounds here and there, but then I would give up and say, “It doesn’t work.”
After many attempts, I finally realized that telling myself things I know aren’t true isn’t helping me. So now I try another tactic – saying nothing at all. No comments, no encouragements, just silence.
That way, my mind doesn’t get any false input whatsoever. It’s still thinking about me and my habits, but not for good reasons.
Examples of affirmations
A few examples of how to create your own affiramtions can be doing something you’ve always wanted to do or creating a new habit. If you have a bad habit that you want to break, maybe trying out an opposite attitude will help!
Example: I would like to eat less sugar. So instead of thinking about what kind of dessert I should make, I think about all of the healthy foods I could include in my meal.
I know it may sound cliché, but really working towards healthier eating habits is more fun than spending money on junk food! Plus, you will feel better if you try this rule out – you will enjoy these changes.
Your subconscious mind does not learn positive things randomly – they must be incorporated into your daily routine. This means listening to your affirmations (self-talk) needs to be done with consistency.
When saying your affirmation, add some intensity to it as well. For example, instead of just stating “I want to lose weight,” say “I WILL lose weight today!” or “I will never put fat on my body again!”
Just because you said it before doesn’t mean anything unless you act upon it.
Create a wish list of affirmations
A powerful way to use positive thinking is through what’s called a mental rehearsal. This means creating a statement or set of statements that are focused on having some specific thing happen.
For example, if you want to have more money in your wallet, a good affirmation would be: “I have a full $1000 in my wallet.”
The subconscious mind doesn’t care about having lots of dollars — it cares about having a certain number of dollars inside its borders.
By using this principle, we can create an affirmative thought with no word for the other part of the equation. The part that goes beyond just having a thought –the part that actually changes behavior– is what we call the effector.
In the previous example, the effectors would be taking a trip with a thousand dollar budget or putting the baggie filled with cash away.
Practice mental and physical relaxation
A recent study suggests that thinking about yourself in a positive way can have a powerful effect on your subconscious mind. The researchers conducted an experiment with twenty participants. They had the individuals read either a negative or positive sentence for three minutes, then asked them to close their eyes and think of something pleasant for one minute.
The researchers then measured each participant’s heart rate before and after the experiment. They found that both the negative group’s hearts raced slightly more than they did before reading the neutral statement and that the positive group’s beats were the same but much slower than they were prior to the experiment.
The researchers hypothesize that because the negative group was forced to focus on how bad their life is at times, it made them feel even worse about themselves and caused their fight-or-flight response to go into overdrive. This resulted in increased heart rates and stress hormones like adrenaline being pumped through their bodies.
For the positive group, thinking about their good qualities helped reduce their anxiety and raised their mood levels. And since we’re all connected via our shared subconscious minds, changing someone else’s internal state has an indirect influence on us.
Practice mental and physical relaxation by choosing a situation that is not threatening and repeating affirmations or thoughts that are positive and self-validating.
Create a positive mindset
A recent study revealed that changing how you feel about yourself is more important than actually altering what you look like or the size of your waistline.
That’s right! Changing your perception of your own worth can have just as powerful an effect on your overall health as dieting or weight loss.
A lot of people focus too much attention on trying to lose weight, focusing only on their stomachs and thighs and not paying enough attention to the rest of their body.
But why would looking in the mirror be more important than thinking about our own self-worth?
It comes down to something called the “self-esteem theory.” This theory states that we develop unhealthy eating habits and poor lifestyle choices by giving undue importance to thoughts and feelings about ourselves.
We think about all the ways we’ve been wronged and refuse to trust ourselves because we don’t believe we are worthy.
On the other hand, outside factors such as family upbringing, socialization, and media influence also play a major role in shaping our self-image.
However, one key factor that impacts our internal image of ourselves is our subconscious mind. The subconscious doesn’t take into account external influences when it comes to beliefs and behaviors.
So while genetics, childhood experiences, and media messages may contribute to creating mental pictures of who you think you are, there’s another player that gets left out – affirmations.
Teach mental and emotional control
A powerful way to use affirmations is to learn how to teach your mind some of its own tricks. You can spend time working on self-confidence, happiness, motivation, or any number of other traits.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by changing what you say to yourself in your head. The word you choose to describe something can have an effect on your subconscious attitude towards that thing.
If you believe “I’m not smart enough” for too long, you will begin to feel more like “not smart enough” and therefore underestimate your ability to succeed. On the contrary, if you consistently think about all the things you know, then your brain will start to associate those thoughts with “I am intelligent���”.
It works similarly when you want to motivate yourself. If you keep thinking about all the reasons why you should not give up, then your subconscious will create a negative feeling about giving up.
However, if you instead repeat reasons to try new things, remind yourself of the rewards it could bring, and emphasize how much you would enjoy it, then your subconscious will help you be less reluctant.
Use them in the workplace
Affecting your subconscious mind at work is a little bit more complicated, but still possible. For example, if you’re not sure whether you’ll get a promotion or not, then you can create an affirmation stating that you will be given a raise next month.
By using this method, your subconscious mind will begin to associate rising through the ranks with your new assertion – so it will come true!
Likewise, if you don’t feel confident about a project, you could say something like ‘I have confidence I will do great things today’ or ‘I will do my best no matter what’- both of which will help boost your self-esteem and motivation.
Your colleagues and superiors may also give you good feedback which boosts your confidence, helping you gain internal strength.
Use them for health
A few years ago, I read an interesting article about how affirmations work and can be used to improve your overall wellness. The author mentioned that our subconscious mind processes information it gets from around us constantly.
This process happens without most people even knowing. For example, when you watch television or listen to music, your subconscious adds little bits of what it sees or hears to its database of information.
With enough exposure, these details eventually combine into something more substantial – like an idea or concept you perceive as true.
That perception becomes part of your own understanding of life, and you begin to believe it too! This is why affirming a statement or proposition often times will make you feel better – because you’ve given yourself permission to agree with it.
Using positive thinking to increase wellness has been studied extensively. It works, and is easily accessible to almost anyone. If you want more info, check out this article on how to use affirmations for weight loss.
I recommend starting small by picking one thing you want to change (like giving up sugar) and then adding another affirmation related to that change (maybe something like “my body feels healthier after my coffee break today”).
Keep testing out different ideas until you find one that helps you relax and/or achieve your goal.
Use them in relationships
A few years back, I was working with a very beautiful young woman who had some significant relationship issues.
Her fiancé was extremely demanding and would sometimes go weeks without speaking to her, let alone making an effort to show his love.
It got so bad that she broke up with him and moved in with her parents. She loved him but needed more space to develop her own life.
After about six months of being apart, they decided to try again and get married. Her father helped them work through their problems by constantly mentioning how much he loved her and wanted to be with her.
He would also emphasize how important it was for her to believe in herself and trust her instincts. He encouraged her to always do what made you feel happy and confident.
At first she was skeptical, but as time went on she began to agree with him. Eventually she gave me her permission to help her use these strategies in our sessions.
Not only did this work wonders for fixing her current relationship, it has now paid off in another area —her career!
She has become my mentor and friend and I could not be happier. Not only does she inspire me, she helps me feel good about myself.
That is why I want to pass along these tools to you. If you are struggling with confidence or self-esteem, there is nothing like using affirmations effectively to fix that.