Are you actively aware of everything you think, every thought in a day? You may be surprised to know that you are aware of around 5% of your thoughts and you have on average 50,000 thoughts in any single day. The other 95% of your thoughts originate from your subconscious which is running programmes, like installed software, which have forged deep grooves in your neural pathways and become part of your personality.
An example of (a useful) software programme is driving your car. You may have been driving your car along the motorway and suddenly you reach a junction by surprise because you cannot remember passing the one before! You worry that you may have been going too fast or what may have happened because you were not paying attention. Your conscious brain was engaged in thinking about decision making such as the work list, which emails to send, your shopping list or which holiday to book but the subconscious was running the ‘how to drive the car’ software programme. You were on auto pilot and this is perfectly normal. In fact, you drop into a trance state, which happens about 70 times a day.
You learned to drive the car in the first place by repeating the thoughts and coordinating the actions until you could perform this activity without much effort. Just in the way that you learn anything new, the pathways of neurons in your brain that become our memory are fired up and new synaptic connections are formed. The connections are strengthened when challenged and we learn by our mistakes; just as we learned to drive by stalling the car or crunched the gears – hopefully nothing more serious! However, unless you have the repeated thought, you lose the information and the ability to consolidate the learning of this new activity.
Everything you learn is by repetition and that also applies to thoughts that are negative and serve you no useful purpose. Bad habits, and by the way, what one person considers bad may not be that same view as another’s perception, are also formed by repeating the thought, which then attaches to an emotion. Thus, for example, if you start procrastinating or doubting yourself, the neural pathways that form this thought process will be reinforced if you keep repeating these thoughts. If you are unaware, this thought process becomes a habit and you have then inadvertently ‘installed’ a new software programme.
Science acknowledges that the brain’s ability to change, neuroplasticity, enables you to upgrade your ‘software’ but you first have to become aware of the thoughts you wish to eliminate. Therefore it stands to reason that to learn any new way of thinking, you have to be aware, practise how you think repeatedly and consciously put energy behind doing this. In a relatively short space of time, synaptic connections will become strong and you will have created change to override the old programme.
Something very interesting which I still find amazing, is the brain literally cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is imagination. Thus you can trick it into imagining the action, which speeds the process along. The optimum time to do this is when the brain is in a deeply relaxed state and the subconscious is receptive to suggestions. That is the power of trance and hypnosis which is why athletes, business people, politicians, actors and anyone who wishes to focus on getting ahead and maintain their mental wellbeing, will engage in the process of hypnotherapy.
If you are feeling stuck and would like to unlock your potential or would like to know more, I offer a free consultation.