So you’re interested in autosuggestion techniques? Respect! This kind of thing fascinates me! Self-induced suggestions that support new thoughts, feelings, and behaviour… If you want to know your future, look no further than the causes your making in the present. There are so many ways to create fresh new actions. This is seriously exciting!
Just think of Derren Brown. The master of suggestion. This might be an extreme example, and you might think you’ll never have this level of influence, but it shows just how much potential there is. It’s well worth taking a step in that direction, surely! Imagine you could use some of that same power and influence on yourself. Well, you can, and you’re sure to get better and better at it with time.
The chap that first coined the term autosuggestion tried replacing a group’s "thought of illness" with a "thought of cure", to test if it would make their meds work better. And bizzarely it worked. The phrase: "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better" was used. Pretty catchy eh… Almost hypnotic…
Of course, a person without legs can’t make them grow back with positive thinking. Some things are more changeable than others. But I reckon far more can be changed and influenced than most people imagine. Just think of the placebo effect… It’s an amazing phenomenon.
You up for trying giving one of these a bash?
Take your unique “habit” you want to change and create a unique encouragement or “auto-suggestion” for yourself. Whenever your habit kicks in deliver your auto-suggestion. Coming up with a suggestion and making it “auto” may take a while but it also took a while for your current habits to be formed! In the short term, you’ll feel some relief and immediate pleasure, and if you can stick with it your automatic response to the situation will begin to shift as well. I’m working on a couple of habits right now.
Let me know your autosuggestions in the comments below or if you prefer, send me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. To assist yourself in making this automatic you can reward yourself each time you remember to do it. Something as simple, as a pat on the back can work, or maybe you can keep a pack of peanuts with you and have a peanut each time you remember. You can do this in any way you like. I think it’s nice to come up with your own way, so you have a sense of ownership. One of my favourite psychological theories is the self-determination theory by Deci and Ryan. It says that when someone decides for themselves, they are more likely to carry through with it.
Let me know in the comments below if you want any tips or if you want to share how it went for you.
One way of creating valuable self-encouragement, is when you’re in unconscious mode take a thought that is occurring to you that seems harmful and repeat the sentence but replace one word, any word, to make the sentence kinder or more positive. Can you feel the difference? You can then introduce that new sentence as a response to a certain situation. By the way, a diary for this work can be very helpful.
Another technique might be called “playing the detective”. Imagine you’re Sherlock Holmes. You could even buy a monocle and keep it in your pocket to make it more fun. While in the midst of bad habit land, harmful thought land, look closely for some facts? Does the actual evidence support your opinion and feeling? You are the detective and your job is to state the facts out loud. “This weather is miserable” is not a fact, it’s an opinion. “it is raining” is a fact.
If you want to create changes in behaviour, here is a helpful way. A fascinating study in the journal of happiness studies showed that people who reminisced about pleasant memories twice a day for a week using memorabilia or imagery, reported greater happiness than a control group.
One of my favourite autosuggestion techniques taps into these findings. If you have something in the present you wish to change, like for example, your response to criticism, harnessing the positive past can be helpful. One reason for this is the broaden and build theory of positive emotions, which suggests that change becomes more likely when you experience positive emotions. You might ask yourself, "What situation in the past shows that I can respond in the way I want". Reminiscing about this for ten minutes, as participants did in the study, and then creating a piece of memorabilia that embodies that, can be used to further support change in the present.
When you're criticised, you'll have the memorabilia on you, you will recall the positive experience, and the positive emotions, allowing you to respond more freely. A new habit can be created through persistent effort.
That'll do for now! I find these 4 methods intriguing and love the fact that they really have endless opportunities for application.
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Ciao for now!