Freud’s definition of the unconscious or subconscious mind is that it is a reservoir for desires, traumatic memories and painful emotions reduced from the conscious mind by psychological repression. As negative as that definition is, it can also be storage for positive and joyful experiences – through repetition of these experiences and memories. It is an unconscious act of transferring what is useful to our survival and happiness into a buried bank inaccessible by our conscious mind, but which still greatly affects our lives through emotions and instinct – in other words, the subconscious is a potency that is only discernible by its effects and expresses itself as symptoms.
To ordinary introspection subconscious thoughts are not openly accessible – but can be tapped into through meditation, dream analysis and the “Freudian” slip. The power of the subconscious is immense and if conditioned the right way can greatly benefit the state of your being and your way of life. There are many techniques to tweak your subconscious mind and allow it to change the way you think, give you more motivation and allow you more control over your life.
Autosuggestion is a psychological technique developed by apothecary Émile Coué. Although criticized by the lack of supporting research, evidence of case studies has shown it works and is a powerful technique for influencing your subconscious. This came about when Coué discovered what became to be known as the placebo affect that when every time he prescribed medicine to his clients he would leave a note reassuring them of the medicine’s efficiency. He noticed that patients with this reassurance had higher improvement than the patients without it.
The first autosuggestion came about when Coué noticed that our mind and mental state was able to amplify the effects of the medication he prescribed. This resulted in him coming up with mantra like suggestions to influence his patients’ thoughts. Through the use of these mantras he changed their “illness thoughts” to “cure thoughts”. The autosuggestions ingrained reaffirming positive thoughts into his patients. By reciting words or images consistently and persistently this causes the subconscious to absorb them.
“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
The principles in Coue’s method is relied on the belief that “any idea exclusively occupying the mind turns into reality” – But only to the point where the idea is a firm possibility in the subject’s mind and their personal beliefs. Someone without arms can’t autosuggest for their hands to grow back – but someone who believes their asthma is disappearing may actually cause it to happen, as long as it’s a possibility in the subjects mind.
New Thought movement describes affirmations as the practice of positive reinforcements for self-empowerment and a belief that a positive mental attitude supported by affirmations will achieve success in anything. It is the reconditioning of the subconscious into thinking a certain way – training your mind to focus on the things you want. By using mantras and sayings which you repeat everyday – this focuses your mind on what you want and motivates you to work towards it with all your mental capacity. Affirmations tricks your mind into believing that whatever it is you want, you already have and possess it. This changes your demeanour and you start to act and do things which are congruent with having whatever it is you desire.
“First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.” – Napoleon Hill
In psychology affirmations are referred to in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), Neuro Associate Conditioning and in hypnosis schools. Made popular by The Secret, the law of attraction is largely based on affirmations – whereby whatever it is you are affirm, it becomes ingrained into your subconscious mind and alters your thought process to believe you already have the thing you are affirming – therefore ‘attracting’ it into your life.
These two techniques – if used properly – are highly beneficial to becoming successful. The way you think definitely have an affect on your lifestyle decisions and daily habits. Whether it is the law of attraction at work or it’s just simply psychological manipulations at play it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that these techniques have worked for hundreds of thousands of successful people in the past and it will work for you too.