As Earl Nightingale once said, “Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.”
As someone who’s studied and is a leading expert in the psychology of persuasion and empowerment marketing strategies, I can say without a doubt that the subconscious mind is the key to profound and lasting motivation, resilience and success – in whichever goal you pursue!
So how does the subconscious mind work and can we really retrain the brain to bust through those blocks we might face, in business and beyond?
Unlocking the Secrets of Your Subconscious Mind
We have two internal programs constantly at work: our conscious and subconscious minds. They work together to keep us alive, safe and in control.
The conscious mind is that little voice we hear all day, questioning our next steps, big decisions and contemplating life.
The subconscious mind is not directly in our control: it’s governed by our senses and that prehistoric part of us that keeps us alive without thinking (also called the reptilian brain).
Many psychologists believe that the subconscious mind is programmed at an early age, before our conscious minds fully develop (which happens some time in our teen years). Everything we learn up till that point – all the subtleties and nuances our families and peers mirror to us – is stored in our subconscious mind.
Let’s take the topic of money, for example.
Say you grew up hearing that “money doesn’t grow on trees” and that “money is the root of all evil.” When it comes to making money (and lots of it), spending money and enjoying what money affords you, how much you want to bet that there will be conflicting internal struggles as you set out to make more of it over your lifetime?
There might be shame or guilt for having money. Disdain for “the rich.” Or maybe you struggle to make enough to get by each month because subconsciously you believe it’s quite difficult to make the money you want or desire.
While the philosophies ingrained in you as a child no longer serve you, they still play a vital role in how you show up, experience and accomplish life goals.
And where’s your conscious mind during all of this?
Well, it’s a bit of a battle of wills. Your subconscious mind is playing out internal, silent scripts embedded in it’s psyche and your conscious mind is rationally attempting to solve the problems you face – yet keeps butting up against the scripts that keep you stuck.
Talk about exhausting!
So while you can’t fully control your subconscious mind, you can feed it new information to alter its beliefs and program it for better outcomes. By clearing out the beliefs that no longer serve you, new beliefs can be instilled which lead you in the direction of your wildest dreams.
The 4 Step System to Retrain Your Brain (in just 15 minutes a day!)
So what’s the secret to retraining your subconscious so you can bust through those blocks you might face?
Whether it’s a lack of motivation, creative ruts, a negative attitude or you’re in need of an energetic boost, this simple 4 step system will have you back on track in as little as 15 minutes per day.
STEP 1: EXPLORE WHAT’S BLOCKING YOU
Take a moment to explore an area of your life that isn’t working as well as you’d want it to. Maybe it’s in money, career, romance or overall well-being. Write down the first three to five things that come to mind when you examine that area. For example, if you struggle to make enough money each month, ask yourself what money means to you.
If you notice yourself writing down some pretty lighthearted answers, push yourself to dig deeper.
Be willing to ask yourself WHY.
Keep asking yourself WHY (4-5 times at least) as you dive deeper into the subconscious beliefs you have around the topic you’ve chosen.
What does money mean to you? It means x….
Why does it mean that? It means….
Why? Why does it mean that…
More often than not you’ll find some surprising answers! You may remember a time when growing up in a household where money “didn’t grow on trees” has left you struggling to find joy in money today. Once you identify the beliefs that may be hidden, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
STEP 2: CREATE A NEW THOUGHT PATTERN
Affirmations and visualization are one of my favorite ways to reprogram the subconscious mind. Like any muscles, the subconscious mind will tire pretty quickly but with practice, you can retrain your brain and neural pathways to accept a new story.
Even recent brain scans have confirmed that not only are affirmations and visualization a key part in self-confidence and worthiness, but that they also provide great lasting effects without extensive or time consuming practice.
The magic power is in consistency, allowing the affirmations to work, and not necessarily the affirmation itself. If you feel you need a new affirmation to keep your momentum and spirits up, adjust as you go.
A typical affirmation and visualization practice can be anywhere from 5-15 minutes per day, depending on your schedule and needs.
Remember, position your affirmation in the positive and the present tense. Same goes for visualizations. Keep them positive and focused on the things you want to create, the relationships you want to experience, the accolades you desire, and the work you want to be known for.
STEP 3: CLEAR YOUR MIND & TURN OFF YOUR SMARTPHONE
How many of us are addicted to our smartphones? We can’t help but check messages, tweets, follows, likes and comments first thing in the morning. Or while we wait in line for our coffee. Or in the metro. Or between meetings. Or when we’re procrastinating.
The easiest way to stay stuck is to stay distracted.
Remove the distractions and you free up your brain to tap back in to what really matters most.
Meditation is one of the greatest tools to boost your brain power, creativity and joy in life.
Quiet contemplation, prayer or moving meditation are also wonderful ways to clear your mind and connect to a greater sense of purpose. By accessing the infinite intelligence within, you better align your desires with your subconscious programming.
Not only that but the space created from just one of these actions also allows your affirmations to take root more easily, without your conscious mind trying to run the show or outside distractions keeping you locked into an unproductive cycle of consumption.
Practice meditation, prayer, quiet contemplation or take a walk in a park without your cell phone each day and you’ll notice a huge shift in your productivity, joy and stress levels.
STEP 4: FOSTER GOOD FEELINGS
What you think, say and do become who you are.
Let that sink in.
Your subconscious mind is programmed to react in a certain way based on how you were raised as well as the responses from your immediate environment.
We are triggered in each moment to either take action, pass judgment or stay safe.
Creating a positive mindset, avoiding negative talk (both to self and others) and framing your experiences as empowering, help reprogram your subconscious mind to see the good around you.
Positive thinking isn’t just happy thoughts and singing kumbaya.
John Hopkins recently found a correlation between positive thinking and cardiovascular health.
And this landmark study found positive thinking tremendously impacted a person’s skills and ability to perform those skills with greater capacity, strength and success.
If you catch yourself struggling with negative thoughts, judgment or unhappiness then take a minute to focus back in on your purpose. Write out a short gratitude list (it could be as simple as clean water or a working toilet). Get out in nature or take a few deep breaths of clean, fresh air.