When someone is told, “Don’t think of a white elephant,” usually, they visualize a white elephant.
The reason is that while the conscious mind is great at language, the subconscious is not. The conscious mind works with logic, symbols, letters, numbers, language and math.
The subconscious mind works with images, senses, emotions and the physical body. The subconscious does NOT work well with language. Although grammatically correct as a sentence, “Don’t think of a white elephant,” the subconscious does not process the abstract term “don’t.” It does process the action “think” and the visual image “white elephant.”
When thinking about taking a test in the future, people with test anxiety typically say to themselves, “I hope I DON’T fail this test.” That is telling the subconscious to fail the test. Chances are that the person has had plenty of experience failing tests. A more successful strategy would be to say, “I hope I pass this test,” or, even better, “I can pass this test,” or, even stronger, “I will pass this test.”
Even though “not failing” logically means the same as “passing,” to achieve the goal, it is necessary to use positive language. To get what you want, say what you want (not what you don’t).
The conscious mind is in charge of planning and is aware of time and place, while the subconscious does not. This becomes a factor when thinking about an event in the future.
To increase the likelihood of success even more, practice visualizing the goal as if it has already happened or is happening. The more details and the more practice, the better. FBN
By Don Berlyn
Don Berlyn, PT, CHT, is a hypnotherapist at Flagstaff Hypnotherapy. He can be reached at email@example.com or 928 699-8263. For more information, visit flagstaffhypnotherapy.com.
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