Our thoughts and emotions are the two of the most powerful instruments our minds possess. We often utilize this mental apparatus to give advice to other people, while at the same time, the best advice we can give is to ourselves. This is where autosuggestion makes the scene – we can suggest to ourselves ways of perfecting our intellect to broaden our selfhood, both physically and mentally.
Studies suggest that more than 80% of health conditions have a psychosomatic component to them, which means that our thoughts play a substantial role in keeping us healthy. This is why employing the techniques of autosuggestion may be just as important as regular medical check-ups, physical activity, and healthy nutrition.
Our bodies absorb our thoughts. They feed on them just like they do on any nutrient we ingest. Still, there is a general misconception of what positive thoughts are. Take, for instance, someone who is ill. There is a great difference between the thought of “I am healthy,” and “I am not ill”. When one focuses on the latter, they unconsciously create a path toward a negative connotation, and they negate what was supposed to be positive in the first place.
Affirmation technique is a mind programming method that may help you combat negative self-talk. You still need to be aware that positive thinking won’t change the state of affairs, but instead, it will change your perception of them. Once you start practicing it daily, things may not change, but your attitude will. Repeating phrases such as “I feel good,” “I love this life,” “I am relaxed,” “I am unharmed,” “I am grateful” – or similar phrases that focus on the positive will help you program your mind to avoid being paralyzed in fight-or-flight situations, stressful circumstances, or other day-to-day conundrums. These will be subliminal messages you send to your subconsciousness, making you more resistant to excessive self-criticism, depression, and the feeling of ineptitude.
Recent years have seen a rise in the number of people stressing the connection between the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and autosuggestion. What these two have in common is that both approaches highlight the importance of thinking about our reality as if something we desire is already present and not as if we are striving toward it. This subconscious communication between our aspirations and our reality creates a positive mindset. Instead of straining to achieve something, we envision it to be real at the present moment.
Seldom do we think about our thoughts. What we do is take them at face value – we want, we hate, we ponder, we hesitate. These are all emotions we process as thoughts, but the truth is, we rarely evaluate them. Being mindful about our thoughts can suspend judgment and help us observe how our minds and sensations work.
Simple and yet, not so easy, practicing mindfulness consists of harnessing your thoughts and not allowing them to wander off once you begin the practice. To do it properly, try to dedicate some time for it instead of doing it in haste. Focus on the present moment as it is, close your eyes, and delve into your mind. Thoughts will start twirling around, and that is the exact moment you should stop them and bring yourself back to where you are now. Let them pass you by as if they’re physically in the room.
It might sound ridiculously easy, but that is the whole point of this practice – you are learning how to control what comes in and out of your mind. After publishing the findings obtained from their study on mindfulness meditation and its effect on the brain and immune function, scientists concluded that “a short training program in mindfulness meditation (MBSR – [Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction]) has demonstrable effects on brain and immune function and underscores the need for additional research.” (Davidson et al. 2003) This means that practicing mindfulness has tremendous benefits for your psyche and your body alike.
This type of autosuggestion is based on the premise that our minds can induce self-relaxation that is similar to how we feel when we’re falling asleep. German psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz was one of the pioneers in studying this technique, and he discovered that we can achieve maximum relaxation through self-hypnosis, which further impacts our peripheral vascular system and hence, our heart and lungs.
The basic principle of such self-hypnosis is the perception of sensations while relaxing instead of relaxing by evoking the sensations. Autogenic training consists of sets of exercises beginning with warm-up activities, including counting your breaths, focusing on parts of your body, and describing your sensations at any given moment. In the past century, when Shultz formed his theory, he recognized three quintessential components of autogenic training: “(1) reduce muscle tension in the body; (2) change the style or way people think; (3) change the content of what they are thinking.” (Marr 2005) The effects accomplished through training are similar to those induced by sleeping – the person feels invigorated and energized.
When we visualize, we employ our imagination to create mental images. It is a natural ability which we use unconsciously in the majority of cases. This particular form of meditation focuses on what we want to happen in our lives, and directing our thoughts toward that goal is said to help in attaining it.
It is all founded on the premise that we stimulate the life energy we all possess. In simple terms, everything in the universe is a bundle of connected and intertwined energy. This energy vibrates at different frequencies, and similar energies often attract one another. You are not attracting what you want but what you feel. For starters, try to create a mental image of the exact situation you wish to occur, preferably with many details. Visualize it happening at the present moment, not in the future, and repeat the process as many times as possible on a daily basis. Keep in mind whether your aspirations are genuine or they are imposed on you by your family, society, or the media.
By employing these autosuggestion techniques, we actively pull the strings of our subconscious self. This realm of our psyche is a vastness yet to be thoroughly explored. Hardships won’t simply disappear by some miracle, and denying the problem is not a way of solving it. The essence of autosuggestion is to take the problem as it is and elevate your mind above it to change your perception and point of view. Sooner or later, once viewed from a different perspective, the problem might seem altogether different and surmountable.