Cognitive neuroscientists believe that 95% of our behavior is beyond our conscious awareness. In layman’s terms, that means that the vast majority of our decisions, actions, emotions and behavior are done based on the information stored in our subconscious mind – or our adaptive unconscious.
Your subconscious files away your memories, experiences, perceptions, and insights and maintains them far beyond the recollection of your conscious mind.
These past experiences and revelations have a tremendous impact on your beliefs, habits, and general behavior.
For example, think about doing grocery shopping. As you’re approaching the shopping cart, you don’t have to consciously think about slowing down, stopping at the cart, lifting your arm at a certain angle, closing your fingers around the handle, what angle you need to turn the cart, etc.
Your adaptive unconscious makes all of that possible.
So it makes that sense that learning how to program the subconscious mind can be a powerful tool for altering behavior – perhaps even behaviors that you’ve been trying to consciously change to no avail.
How to Program the Subconscious Mind
Using these strategies to help program your mind:
You’re probably already familiar with affirmations but if not, affirmations are positive statements that you repeat to yourself each day. Affirmations can be powerful, but they must be used correctly:
#1 – Avoid affirmations that are clearly untrue. Your subconscious is flexible, but it’s not willing to seriously consider the ridiculous.
Repeating, “I am a billionaire,” is too factually untrue to be accepted by your subconscious (unless, of course, you actually are a billionaire.)
“My financial situation is improving rapidly” is easier to swallow.
Here is a list of money affirmations that you can repeat to yourself.
Use Imagery and Emotions
Really try to visualize yourself as fit, financially successful, or publishing your first book (or whatever your goal is.) Try to generate the same emotions you would have in that situation.
Repeat your affirmations 3 times per day for 5-10 minutes each. Each morning, right before falling asleep at night and one other time during the day are ideal times. You can also repeat affirmations whenever you feel the need – for example, if you’re feeling self-doubt, repeat affirmations to strengthen your confidence.
There is conflicting evidence on whether subliminal messaging is effective or not. However, there are people who strongly believe in subliminal messaging being an effective way to program the subconscious mind, so it’s worth a try.
You might not realize this, but you’ve been hypnotized many times before. You probably just didn’t view it as hypnosis.
Hypnosis might sound like something reserved for stage shows in Las Vegas but in reality, hypnosis is just a state of intense concentration with a reduced awareness of what is happening in your immediate environment. For example, have you ever been completely engrossed in a book or movie? If you answered yes, then you’ve been hypnotized.
When you’re in a state of hypnosis, you’re more suggestible. In other words, it’s easier to influence you or to change your mind. (That’s how hypnotists can get people to do crazy things they’d never normally do.)
Meditation is a great way of concentrating your focus by creating a mental state that opens the mind to new ideas.
If you’ve tried meditation before and found it “boring,” or had difficulty focusing, then it’s worth giving it another shot. Meditation is a skill and like most skills, has to be learned.
However, it’s a worthwhile skill that anyone can learn with a little determination. You can find answers to some of the most common meditation questions here.
If you’re good at visualizing, you can convince your subconscious of nearly anything. A convincing visualization is viewed by your subconscious as an actual experience. For example, if you visualize yourself successfully delivering a speech to a large audience, your subconscious will become convinced this is a skill you possess.
Like affirmations, the best time to use this process is right before falling asleep and upon awakening in the morning. Visualizing is easier and more effective at those times.
We are only aware of a tiny portion of what our brain is doing at any moment.
Our brains are dealing with far too much information for our conscious mind to process. The brain is controlling body temperature, blood pressure, pulse, digestion, concentrations of various salts, neurotransmitters, hormones, and far more sensory data than we’re aware of.
The same is true for our behavior. And given that the subconscious mind controls 95% of our behavior, it makes sense to address this 95% if we want to make lasting changes.