You probably never heard its name promoted in any classroom. But it is responsible for pretty much running your life. Without a drum roll, I would like to introduce to you an immensely powerful part inside you that has been operating off your radar screen as your silent and invisible partner—your subconscious mind. This article, based on my Nightingale-Conant program Reprogram Your Subconscious: How to Use Hypnosis to Get What You Really Want, explores why your subconscious mind, left to its own devices, may or may not help you attain truly satisfactory outcomes. In fact, you will become aware of how it is possible for your subconscious to unintentionally and mistakenly be working against your well-being, even though your subconscious is convinced that it is giving you what you want. This situation may be remedied, however, by your practicing different techniques of Reprogramming Self-hypnosis that are practical skills intended to enrich and support you throughout your lifetime.
Deleting the Negative
Hypnosis allows you to relax into that very suggestible altered consciousness state in which your subconscious is open to accepting changes. Accepting Reprogramming Hypnosis suggestions into your subconscious is one way you can modify your behaviors. An important part of behavior modification is deleting or neutralizing and thus nullifying the negative emotional associations that are attached to certain memories. You may remember what happened; yet, you can neutralize the emotions that are attached to that memory. For example, you remember that you fell off a horse, but through hypnotic suggestion, the fears and pain from that experience have been released. The memory has been rendered harmless. Subsequently, you can acknowledge that you fell off a horse without feeling pain or anxiety. You now have released the fear related to that memory. When you think about that experience now, you feel calm, even though you can remember what happened. This gives you the option of enjoying horseback riding again and regaining self-confidence, self-empowerment, and higher self-esteem. You also have more wisdom next time about how to avoid such a fall while horseback riding. The following case study exemplifies another circumstance when Reprogramming Hypnosis deleted a man's negative, low self-esteem feelings and instead raised his high self-esteem.
Jim’s New Reality
Jim came to see me when he was 42. As Jim tells it, he heard throughout his childhood that he was no good. His dad had always derided him and said Jim would amount to nothing. As a child, Jim subconsciously took in and accepted his father’s denigrating words. As a result, Jim believed since he was a young child that he was worthless and would amount to nothing. Even though as Jim’s life progressed and he experienced successes, he still felt and believed he was really a failure. He expected people would find him out one day. He avoided risks because it would likely mean failure for him. As a part of the Reprogramming Hypnosis approach, Jim created suggestions that we used in session to delete his erroneous mind-sets. Since it is always imperative to replace the deletions with positive suggestions, Jim substituted very high self-esteem statements of suggestions that he much preferred to live by. Subsequently, Jim started to feel better about himself as a worthy and successful man. His confidence grew very significantly, as did his happiness ratio.
Our Subconscious Computer
Your subconscious mind may be likened to the most magnificent computer that has yet to be invented. As a magnificent computer, your subconscious mind holds all your memories, all data about what you have experienced from all of your senses. It runs vast numbers of programs simultaneously with precision and ease. Your subconscious mind runs your body’s autonomic system without your need for conscious thought input. Did you have to remind yourself to blink or to digest food? It is just done automatically.
Delete, Merge, Copy, Cut, and Paste
You use different computer files labeled with titles or names just the way that people used the old-fashioned files that were stored in actual file cabinets. You can add information to the files and can delete them entirely whenever you want. Figuratively speaking, using the computer analogy, you can do this very same thing in your subconscious mind, using hypnosis. You can create new files, give those files titles and names, and then delete obsolete files or those that have misleading or incorrect information. Similarly in your subconscious computer, when you delete old mind-sets or harmful emotions, they are really gone, in effect totally neutralized and discarded. They no longer influence your subconscious programming. Your subconscious, like a real computer, also has the capability to program email letters to be sent at a later time than when you actually typed them in. This is just like a post-hypnotic suggestion. You can merge, copy, cut, and paste computer files that hold information. Your suggestible subconscious cooperates with your directions just the way a real computer responds to what you type as directions on your keyboard. While in hypnosis it is possible to recall happier times when you felt better about yourself and then direct your subconscious to copy those same happy feelings and paste them into your present emotional state of mind so it remains permanently as part of your reality, in the now. Hence, your high self-esteem image that brings along your positive feelings takes precedence over your most recent low self-esteem, bad feelings that you have cut and deleted. Believe it or not, your subconscious can do all of these things and more.
Nevertheless, there is a renegade in your subconscious computer design. A man-made computer is built to function purely on logic and logical progression. Human emotions have no place in present-day actual computers. Therefore, present-day computers are incapable of performing emotionally or impulsively when following downloaded programs. Your human subconscious computer, in contrast, does utilize the amygdala part of your brain that does respond impulsively. This is because the amygdala reacts so quickly to your stressors that it bypasses the logical part of your brain, your neo-cortex. As described in Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence, research supports the fact that after just a few milliseconds of your perceiving something, you already perceive what it is. What is more, you know how you feel about it, favorably or unfavorably. It is as if your emotions produce impulsively motivated programs that are instantly downloaded independently of your logical mind. Thus you are burdened with logically flawed subconscious programs that influence your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
What May Drive Anxiety
One illustration of this is what happens when you might pass a car on the highway and nearly have an accident. In physiological terms, the hippocampus part of your subconscious brain remembers the objective facts, while the amygdala retains the memory of the emotions created during that trauma. Next time you are in a similar situation passing a car on the highway, your amygdala will send a surge of anxiety, bringing up old feelings associated with the passing of a car on the highway. To make matters worse, the associations that the amygdala makes seem to broaden and spread with time. It may start with anxiety from that specific highway where the first trauma originated. Then later, it may include other large highways that elicit the same anxious response. Next, you may feel the anxiety on any regular highway when you are passing another car. If nothing is done to resolve this situation, the anxiety may grow to where anytime you are in the car, you feel tremendous anxiety. Since the amygdala is making choices without the benefit of your logical brain, it makes conclusions based on very loose and often incorrect associations. These spreading and mutation-like changes are characteristic of fears, anxieties, and panic attacks. They are like weeds that spread, multiply, and take root, crowding out the grass that constituted your peaceful lawn.
No Permission Granted
As emphasized before, your subconscious consistently chooses things for you without asking permission and without any of your conscious awareness at all! It is like having a computer system running a program that impacts your entire computer without your knowing anything about the existence of the anonymous program. Theoretically, this program functioned for our primordial ancestors as a benevolent program wanting to please and protect them. So when our cavemen ancestors found themselves facing a tiger, the amygdala part of their brain registered it while dipping into past data to conclude that this was a dangerous situation. So the amygdala reminded our ancestors of the fear (emotional response) they experienced from their last tangle with a tiger. They had better fight the tiger or take flight as fast as they could run (memory of past experiences.) Thus, the adrenalin necessary for either of those two options started flowing (bodily response), and our ancestors were pumped, ready for action.
Refuse Blame for the Pain
In modern, much more complicated times, however, someone such as your spouse, your boss, or your neighbor may be mistaken for that tiger. Consequently, the number of times your amygdala responds, as just described, is far more often than likely there were tiger confrontations in caveman times. So chances have increased tremendously for inappropriate emotional responses from your amygdala. With all that outdated information from which to base its reactions, it is not unusual for your amygdala to program something unwisely, and none of that programming is your fault! You are free from responsibility, blame, and/or guilt for programming choices that your subconscious made without your consent or even awareness, period. Remember, when there is a strong emotionally perceived threat, the part of your brain responsible for clear logic, the neo-cortex, never has a chance to alter the subconscious choices because the amygdala has already activated your response so quickly. It is not surprising that the choices produced this way may have negative consequences for you—like chronic anxiety, fears, racing thoughts, high blood pressure, weight gain, addictions, and so forth. Your amygdala may be responsible for creating many of your hot buttons that set you off emotionally, mentally, and physically. Every time there is a new stressful incident that your amygdala perceives as even vaguely similar to a previous incident, your reaction to the new stress seems to grow in intensity. It is as if somebody poured salt upon your open wound. Think about it. What are your current hot buttons? They represent perfect targets for reprogramming your subconscious mind for your long-term benefit and Highest Good.