Beliefs are just thoughts we keep thinking. But changing our beliefs requires more than just thinking new thoughts, we must go deeper than our conscious thought processes and speak directly to our subconscious mind.
Our beliefs drive our behaviour and are stored within our subconscious programmes. In Becoming the Mastermind of your Health, we looked at how our physical health is impacted by our beliefs.
Our beliefs create the biochemical environment that instruct our cells how to behave, either in "growth" or "protection" mode. Ideally we want to create a biochemical environment that encourages "growth" mode so that we can be healthy. To do this we need to run subconscious programmes driven by positive beliefs.
Often our subconscious programmes are driven by negative beliefs which create an unhealthy biochemical environment in the body.
Belief Changing Techniques are helpful to positively reprogramme the subconscious.
It is estimated that our subconscious mind is responsible for about 95% of our responses and behaviour. It is very intelligent and like a “GoPro” camera it records everything that happens in life. It uses these recordings to learn, and based on this it writes software programmes for living.
The programmes are designed to help us, to operate in the background without requiring conscious thought, so we can get on with the business of living. For example it controls all of our automatic behaviours such as breathing and keeping our heart pumping, unfortunately it controls our automatic “fly off the handle when a wet towel is left on the floor” programme too.
Let’s look at how this happens. Think of your body as a car, when we are in the present moment our conscious awareness has its hands on the wheel. As soon as we engage in thought our conscious awareness lets go of the wheel. Luckily our subconscious has been paying attention to everything and immediately takes the wheel, responding automatically with the appropriate programme.
How often are we engaged in thought? Can you see how the subconscious is at the wheel of your life most of the time?
We are most easily programmed as children, it is where we learn most of the programmes that run our current lives. Up until about age 7, our brains operate in the hypnotic and impressionable Theta brainwave. This Theta state allows our subconscious mind to absorb and learn quickly, but often it learns negative or limiting programmes which are carried into adulthood. After age 7, consciousness begins to emerge and we learn through repetition.
This provides us with two ways to access the subconscious mind and reprogramme negative beliefs:
The hypnotic Theta state.
I’d like to share my favourite two Belief Changing tools with you here. The first is Creative Visualisation which is powerful when used in the Theta state. The other is Affirmations which work tremendously well with repetition, and suit those who struggle with visualisation. Don’t roll your eyes! I know many people don’t get the success they desire with affirmations, this is because many people are practising the technique incorrectly. I’ll explain exactly how to create an affirmation that works, but first let’s look at Creative Visualisation.
Creative Visualisation in the Theta state.
With this method the subconscious is delivered new, empowering messages through imagery and emotion. You may embrace your creativity to create your own visualisations, or find guided visualisations that suit your needs.
This technique takes longer to perform than affirmations, but if you can use your imagination you will find it very enjoyable and well worth the effort. A Theta brainwave and deep relaxation can be induced using Progressive Relaxation, Breathing Exercises or Meditation. Once the Theta state has been achieved, communication with the subconscious mind can begin.
Speaking to the subconscious mind involves using your imagination to create a vision of your desired reality. Engaging all of your senses, create a scene that is rich in detail and charged with positive emotion. Act as if the scene is real and the subconscious perceives it as so. The subconscious uses these Creative Visualisations in the same way that it used its earlier “GoPro” recordings, to learn and create an automatic response.
A level of repetition is required using this method too, but you will find that it quickly reprogrammes the subconscious mind.
Affirmations with Repetition
Remember that repetition is one of two ways to reach the subconscious. Positive affirmations become mantras you can chant throughout your day. The result is subconscious reprogramming with affirmations over time.
An affirmation that is actually going to change your beliefs needs to be structured in a way that the subconscious mind understands. It needs to speak the same language, and that is through feelings and imagery.
It helps to think of your subconscious like your computer - you need to tell it which programme to run, so your affirmation is like a well designed software programme that looks good and feels great!
In designing your ideal programme your affirmation must:
Be worded positively
Give your subconscious a positive command by stating what you do want, not what you don’t want. You wouldn’t tell your computer “don’t open Safari” when you want Spotify to open, you’d tell it to “open Spotify”.
Be stated in the first person
“I am” statements speak powerfully to your subconscious mind transforming the affirmation into an Identity statement. These kinds of statements provide a high level of motivation for change.
Be stated in the present tense, as if it already is
Quite simply, your subconscious doesn’t ‘think’, it won’t question your assertion. If you tell it “run this programme now” it will. It’s your conscious mind that feels silly doing it, but it’s the subconscious that’s driving the car most of the time, so we’ll speak to the subconscious.
Be filled with emotion
As stated earlier, emotions are the language of the subconscious. Filling your programme with positive feelings that get you charged and excited help your subconscious recognise the triggers for opening that programme.
Now you know how to create powerful affirmations, it’s time to apply them. Again and again and again…
While repetition alone will work, I have found that it is helpful to repeat them when doing mundane, auto-pilot tasks that have typically put me in a Theta state (such as washing dishes, showering, after meditation). This amplifies their power and promotes faster change by directly accessing my subconscious mind.
Make the Change
Living consciously “in the now”, keeping your hands on the wheel, is the best way to avoid living from your subconscious programming.
Awareness is the first step. Begin to notice the times you’ve slipped into a negative automatic response without even realising.
When you’ve become aware of the limiting programmes you’re running, you can choose one or both of the Belief Changing Tools above to change anything you don’t like!