The thought of programming our subconscious mind has always fascinated me. I mentioned in my Does Hypnosis Work? post that children between the ages of 2 and 12 live predominantly in the high theta/ low alpha brain wave state. The brain waves in this state are faster in frequency and lower in amplitude than the very slow, high amplitude waves that characterize the brain wave state of adults during sleep, but are slower and higher in amplitude than the brain waves that characterize adults in their normal, wide-awake lives. The evidence demonstrates that people in this state, adults and children, are highly suggestible and subject to influence. For example, this is the state in which persons reside when they are hypnotized. It is not surprising therefore to learn that this is also when children are at those most programmable. And it is while children are in these states that their self-esteem, their so-called “self-truths”, are programmed into their subconscious minds by their parents, teachers, friends and the media. This is often the first, and most important, instance of programming our subconscious mind we encounter.
So consider the consequences of hearing, at that age, that you are fat (skinny), you are too slow to be an athlete, you are the dumbest person in the class, you have awful hair, your freckles look funny. Or the consequences of seeing expressions of inappropriate behavior, attitudes or beliefs. As part of their development children are downloading all the information that is available to them, as quickly as they can. They are constantly scanning their environment for input. The problem is that the consciousness of children hasn’t developed enough to properly assess, or be critical of, these “truths”. At this point in their development they are at their most suggestible state, and consequently these suggestions, or beliefs, or truths become programmed into their subconscious minds.
As I stated in my Conscious Of Our Subconscious post, once suggestions or beliefs get programmed into our subconscious they become hard-wired as “truths” where they are applied automatically, without the benefit of further thought or critical assessment. The subconscious is habitual, it will respond to life’s signals the same time, every time. These truths will be a part of, or affect our responses forever, unless consciously over-ridden, or unless the subconscious is re-programmed.
Obviously this is not breaking news (though it is helpful to know a little more about the “why”), but we need to be so very aware of what our children are being exposed to. The beliefs and behaviors learned from parents, teachers, friends, and even the media are literally burnt into their minds.
And of course the flip side to all of this, consider the consequences of children hearing positive affirmations of worth and value during these early formative years. Imagine the power and effect of that kind of input. Programming our subconscious mind is now viewed as a good thing.
I want to mention again, as did in both my Does Hypnosis Work? and in my Conscious Of Our Subconscious posts, that re-programming our subconscious is possible. We don’t need to live with low self-worth or low self-esteem forever. We can re-program our subconscious to facilitate success, and even physical and mental health. For example, and I mention it because of my own personal experience with it, there is much evidence that hypnosis is a viable tool in this regard. According to Dr. Pulos, the theory behind its effectiveness in these situations is that during hypnosis you are guided into the receptive alpha and theta brain wave states where the original programming and conditioning of your beliefs about yourself took place. You are returned to the brain wave state that prevailed when the original beliefs were programmed, allowing you the opportunity to reprogram new ones into your subconscious.
In fact, there are even more exciting possibilities involving programming our subconscious mind that I will be discussing in future posts.
Before I close out I want to say that this post owes much to The Biology of Belief by Bruce H. Lipton, and the CD series “The Biology of Empowerment: How to Program Yourself to Succeed at a Cellular Level” by Lee Pulos.
I’ll keep you posted.