There’s a lot to be said about being in ‘two minds’ about something. The truth is… it’s an actual fact for all of us.
I’m talking about the conscious mind and the subconscious mind… and like every close knit couple living in a tight space… a break from each other can do them the world of good occasionally. 🙂
All joking aside.. these two minds do in fact each play an important role, but sometimes need to be tweaked to serve us best and help us live a better life.. or at very least develop better habits and this is where Hypnosis/Hypnotherapy is incredibly powerful.
In order to explain how hypnosis works, I’ll first help you understand how the subconscious and conscious mind work together. See below:
The Conscious Mind:
The conscious mind is your objective analytical mind and the one you use voluntary in day to day living and decision making. It is in use when deciding what you will eat next, what you will do for the day, when or how you move, etc. It is responsible for the more ‘immediate’ reactions to the things and thoughts we deal with on a continuous basis. It quickly filters through information, decides on your next action, answers questions and makes the “yes” or “no” decisions. It’s your ‘reasoning’ awake…”conscious” mind.
It can only deal with one thought at a time. It will either accept it or reject things. It holds no deep memory or emotion. It’s the mind you use on the “outside” responsible for conscious living.
The Conscious mind is also known as a Gate Keeper as in a way it wants to look after you. It is a Guard…in a way as its automatic responses are meant to protect your subconscious (internal) mind from anything it feels may harm or disappoint you or isn’t something you are used to doing or feeling ‘comfortable’ with.
For example: If someone asked you to do something that was against your belief system… your conscious mind would quickly filter the information and check to see if it aligned with your morals or comfort zone and in this case, would immediately reject it.
Now,… if for instance, somebody offered you a beneficial and positive opportunity … but, lets say, it was something different to what you were used to and was perhaps a little unnerving… there is a good chance it’s knee-jerk reaction would be to do the same. (Reject the opportunity).
To clarify… let me give you an example: Let’s say a wonderful opportunity to be a guest speaker. Let us also say, you were excited about this possibility, but internally you lacked the confidence to do so. There is a huge possibility in this case, that your conscious mind would immediately reject the opportunity and come up with all sorts of reasons and excuses why you shouldn’t.
Now naturally the conscious mind isn’t getting in the way for any other reason other than to protect you… but the point is, this happens all the time and is often a major stumbling block as to why so many people don’t move forward or can’t seem to achieve goals in countless areas of life…. simply because they can’t break through the barrier that holds them back.
The latter example of course is an example of how the conscious mind can hinder you….as it tends to get in the way of not only opportunities to move forward, but countless other goals as well as breaking non-serving thought patterns and habits as well. In short, it likes it’s ‘comfort zone’ and doesn’t like to give change a fair chance regardless of how beneficial that change may be.
The Subconscious Mind
The subconscious mind is your “inside mind”. It is the ‘deeper’ mind that stores memories, internal beliefs and programming and it also here your emotions reside.
Many of the thoughts, feelings and beliefs that are engrained in your subconscious mind are in many cases ones that may have been developed very early on in life as you were learning about life or in very tender stages of your growth.
As an example, as a child you may have been told you were stupid or incapable of achieving something by a parent … or even somebody else.
This false information hit you hard and took root to such a level that you continued to believe this over and over again as the years went by and became part of your internal make-up and quite possibly something your truly believe to this day.
Now, I am not saying that all negative thoughts, habits and beliefs ‘have’ to start at an early age… the same ‘can’ certainly happen at any time of life and to be honest don’t always have to start by a ‘person’ either.
Basically your subconscious stores things that have managed to either get past the subconscious as some state or another, or could be thoughts and/or habits you’ve conjured up, repeated and repeated until they’ve ‘sunk in’… and taken permanent residence in our mind to create negative feelings and or patterns.
As an example… lets say in adulthood you had your heart set on a particular promotion yet during or after the interview you learned you were not awarded the position and you were told you were not the right ‘fit’ this time around… or perhaps your skills were not quite meeting the jobs requirement….but try again next time.
This type of disappointment can be a real blow. Even though the comments above may not have been said in an unpleasant manner, you may have still felt ‘inadequate’ and told ‘yourself’ you just didn’t measure up to ‘anything’ …. perhaps to the point that you truly believed it permanently.
Blows like this can erode confidence regardless of age… and are often enough to slip by the conscious mind (that knows at some level you ARE capable) but regardless, they wiggle their way to your more sensitive ‘subconscious’ and can in many cases be enough to hold you back for good.
The problem is, your subconscious mind, requires no ‘reasoning’ and will simply accept anything that hits it… or was persistent or powerful enough to cause your conscious mind to let slip through the cracks. It didn’t matter that you were told to try again next time… it just heard you were not the right fit… and looked no further.
The subconscious mind didn’t care what the reason was for allowing the thought to reside there either. It didn’t care about all the other skills you have. It simply embraced the negative thought and did what it was told (or what it heard) … hence may have become firmly set and damaged your self confidence.
Now I know I’ve gone on about ‘self-esteem’ in my explanations above… but the subconscious is responsible for far more than that.
Habits such as smoking, drinking, poor sleep patterns and all sorts of things can become rooted there. For example, a smoker will train the subconscious to say It’s ok to smoke, I’ll never quit, I’ve tried everything and it’s not going to happen and I’ve done it for years. A person who battles with drinking will adopt the same outlook. An insomniac will train him or herself to just belief “I can’t sleep’ “I never sleep” “I’ve never slept well”… It’s just not in me to sleep well… no matter what I do” and so on.
Thankfully this is where Hypnosis can flex its awesome muscle as an excellent modality for changing these non-serving beliefs by re-programming your internal thought patterns by using positive beneficial suggestions to replace these negative thoughts instead.
Again, remember, your subconscious needs NO reasoning… so it can just as easily embrace positive suggestions and erase the negatives once we are able to communicate directly. (With no questions asked or necessary).
Let me explain how hypnosis works by giving you an elementary analogy:
As previously mentioned, the conscious mind is like a ‘guard’… and your subconscious mind is like the Queen (or King 😉 ). The Queen had always ruled the nation in the same way… and to be honest things were quite chaotic. The Queen knew there was so much room for improvement and was desperately willing to adopt better ideas…. But she never had the opportunity to hear input from others because that darned ‘guard’ was doing too good a job at shielding her… and never allowing ingenious advisers to present ideas directly.
In comes hypnosis… and calmed the guard… to the point he became very relaxed and moved aside to take a nap. Now the queen was fair game…. And the advisers were able to move in and suggest all sorts of positive ideas.
The queen was thrilled and needed no explanation… she simply wholeheartedly embraced the new ideas with no questions asked.
(Because… remember the subconscious (The Queen) needs to reason to accept new ideas… she just will)
When the guard awoke… he seemed to recall ‘dreaming’ about the Queen making all sorts of positive changes… and ingenious advisors going in to strategize with her…. but couldn’t quite remember all the details. The bottom line is however, he liked the new changes … they all felt so natural, hence he accepted them and carried on with a whole new outlook.
The Queen felt so much better as well. She didn’t ask questions either. All she knew was that she felt better, liked the ideas and loved the fact that everyone was now living in a well run empire…. and lived happily ever after.
(Admittedly, the queen may have required more than one meeting with the ingenious advisers… just to get used to her new ways of doing things… but as each meeting passed the changes became as natural as ever).
So… in a nutshell… this is really how hypnosis works … it removes the conscious mind from the equation so we can infiltrate the subconscious with positive suggestions by tapping in directly and sometimes just needs a few sessions to permanently set.
Hopefully I haven’t ‘beaten this to death… but I’m hoping I’ve been able to share this in simple, basic and elementary way to explain ‘how’ hypnosis works and how it can be extremely effective and beneficial.
To learn about other applications for hypnosis / hypnotherapy… click here.