Test Anxiety and Tip-of-the-Tounge Syndrome
What happens when we try to use conscious willpower to “make” our subconscious mind do something? Here’s an example with which most of us can relate: You may remember times when you studied very hard for an important test or exam and you were SURE that you knew the material well. But when the time came the only thing more blank than the test sheet you were staring at was your mind. The harder you tried to remember some of the answers, the worse it became and, to top it off, after the test was over and the pressure was off the answers came flooding back to you!
Attempting to control the subconscious mind with force is a mistake because the act of consciously applying willpower sends signals of struggle to the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind takes its cues from the messages sent by the conscious mind –and it makes the struggle real by creating resistance!
Your “Flashlight of Awareness” is Key
There is a proverb in the Bible, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.” Looking at this proverb closely reveals an important lesson about controlling the subconscious mind — “Thinking” is a cognitive activity that takes place in the brain… “Heart” is associated with emotions… However, the true origin of emotions is also in the brain (limbic system, aka emotional brain).
The subconscious reads not only our thoughts but also our emotions. If these two are congruent, then the subconscious mind accepts the idea or thought as true. As we learned in the Flashligh of Awareness videos It matters not whether it’s a positive thought or a negative thought, the subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference. What matters most are that the thoughts, including mental images, and emotions are all in alignment — this sets the subconscious mind into action to make our ideas happen.
In the case of “brain-lock” (aka, test anxiety) above, fear of not doing well on the test, coupled with the thoughts that go with the fear… such as “I must not fail this test!” or “Ohmigosh, I’m blowing it!”…along with mental images of a big red “F” running through the mind sends an expectation of doing poorly to the subconscious mind…which then complies with the idea (thoughts & feelings) of doing poorly by making it so.
Controlling the subconscious through the use of willpower makes matters worse because trying to remember” sends a message to the subconscious mind that remembering is a struggle…and makes it so! The harder you try to remember, the more resistance you create. Then, when the pressure is off, the answers become easily available to you now. For more information on this, click the image below…
Key Point: So controlling the subconscious mind has nothing to do with force or coercion…in fact, it’s just the opposite. It’s a matter of calm, confident, and congruent thoughts, images, and feelings being consciously created and held onto with feelings of positive expectancy and focused on what you want, not what you don’t want. In this case, controlling the subconscious mind is called programming and sometimes re-programming (when negative programming is dominant).
Top 10 Tips for Programming Your Subconscious:
Programming the Subconscious takes little effort, but lots of respect and understanding about the unique nature of the brain. These top-ten tips on how to program your subconscious can give you a general understanding of the power of the subconscious mind.
To program your subconscious mind the goals must be realistic -– Losing 200 pounds in a week is impossible, no matter how good you are at programming your subconscious. Avoid thinking in ways that will set up a conflict between your thoughts and your feelings about the thoughts. For example, see yourself looking down at a scale that shows you are 10 or 15 pounds lighter or wearing clothes 2 sizes smaller.
Program as if the change you want has already occurred –- For example, if you want to install a program for healthy eating habits visualize yourself as if upon a movie screen eating veggies, smiling and enjoying the food while repeating the affirmation “You/I love to eat healthy food!”Sometimes using first person…”I”…works best, while for others second person references…”You”… works best. You may want to experiment with both ways to see (or hear) what feels right to you. (see below)
As a rule, program your subconscious mind in third-person… Do this by watching yourself up on a movie screen in your mind’s eye and use the reference “you” in place of “I”. However, not all people are the same, so if using first-person or “I” seems less awkward and more intense or real to you go ahead and do that. Once the programming part of the session has been completed, at the end it is always a good idea to “step into” the movie and experience the finished product as fully and intensely as you can in your mind’s eye. Act as if you are actually there, seeing, hearing, and feeling as if you are “in the movie” and it is real. (this is how you “real-ize” what you want)
Program using as many sensory modalities as comfortably possible – Example: see yourself walking along the beach, feel the sand between your toes, hear the sounds of the surf crashing on the shore, smell the salt in the breeze, hear the gulls overhead.
Ignore the problem, focus on the solution – Because of the way your mind processes information it’s best to program your subconscious mind with what you DO WANT rather than what you DON’T WANT. Your subconscious mind cannot process a negation. A negation is where you present an idea and append the sentence to imply the opposite of the idea. For instance, saying “I don’t like to smoke” is a negation – something you do not like. Negations are processed by the higher regions of the cortical or thinking brain, (i.e. the conscious mind). So, you CAN process negatives when you read or hear them, but ONLY at the conscious level. Your subconscious must process what “I”, “like” and “smoke” means then send that back to the conscious mind where the negation is processed. So, “I don’t like to smoke”, processed at the subconscious level becomes “I – like to smoke.”
Use Intensity and Repetition in order to program your subconscious mind –- Making visualizations as vivid as possible and using your powers of imagination will create intensity. Practicing, listening, or programming regularly provides the repetition. (Again, “real-ize” what you want!)
Keep it simple –- One programming session should include only one exercise or CD at a time. You may have several sessions spread out over the day or week, but one session = one program goal.
Don’t question it, just allow it to happen –- The last thing you want to do after a programming session is to question yourself about whether it worked. The most powerful changes occur after you have forgotten about the programming and suddenly real-ize, “Wow, it worked”.
Belief and Confidence –- Believe in the power of your subconscious mind because one of the most powerful ways to program your subconscious mind is through your belief systems. What the thinker (conscious mind) thinks, the prover (unconscious mind) proves. Beliefs are taken as instructions to the subconscious mind, especially when accompanied by congruent feelings.
Program in a highly focused, self-hypnotic state –- Hypnosis bypasses the critical factors of the conscious mind allowing a direct input link to the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind will not accept input that does not fit your value & belief systems. This is why changing beliefs does not involve removing or erasing old beliefs. It simply involves installing new, more desirable beliefs and getting the message of your preference through to the subconscious mind – you guessed it, with intensity and repetition!
Below are some bonus tips from Emmit Fox…
The Seven Laws of the Subconscious Mind.
Back in the 1930’s Emmet Fox, the author of many best-selling books including the classic, Sermon on the Mount, outlined seven Laws of the mind. Fox maintained that these Laws must be followed in order to program your subconscious mind. These seven principles are congruent with my expeience in basic, intermediate, and advanced training programs by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH). They are:
The Law of Substitution: This law points out that one cannot make themselves stop thinking of something. For example, try to not think of the statue of liberty — what happens? So, the law of substitution suggests that in order to program your subconscious mind you need to substitute a thought that you do want in place of the thought you don’t want. Refer to the Law of Growth below to see why this is important.
The Law of Relaxation: In this law, Fox states that getting into a quiet, relaxed, meditative state is important in order to program your subconscious mind. This is supported by the very nature of hypnosis: in order to bypass the critical, analytical conscious processes and achieve access to subconscious processes it is very helpful to become absorbed in a relaxed, meditative state.
The Law of Subconscious Mind Activity: Here Fox points out that the subconscious mind is always busy doing something – it’s like a supercomputer that’s always on, making millions of computations and calculations as it runs various embedded programs and routines. Once the subconscious mind accepts an idea or suggestion it begins using all of its vast resources to create and activate a subconscious routine to make it happen. See the Laws of ‘Duality of Thought’ and ‘Growth’ below to learn why this is important.
The Law of Practice (Repetition): We all know that “practice makes perfect”, here’s why: Every fifteen minutes that we devote to learning something new we are growing new dendrite connections (neural networks) or we are shifting established connections in order to accommodate the new learning. This biological activity has been termed neurogenesis or “Brain Growth”…two things are very important to keep in mind here to program your subconscious mind:
First, Chronic Stress SHUTS DOWN neurogenesis because the brain diverts most of its energy into self-preservation (survival mode). When the chronic stress is relieved the brain can shift into self-actualization (growth mode). So, the relaxation effect of listening to self-hypnosis programs are very effective even if you get nothing more than relaxation from the time you invest by listening.
Second, the “Use it or Lose it” principle is in effect making practice even more important. (See the Law of Growth below)
The Law of Forgiveness: According to Fox (and the Bible) Forgiveness is a Spiritual Law that must be followed in order for prayer and meditation to be more effective. Fox states, “Unforgiveness fastens your troubles to you with rivets”. Seemingly in agreement with this Law, Twelve-step philosophy sees resentment, a form of unforgiveness, as “…the #1 offender to sobriety”.
The Law of Duality of Thought: (Intensity) This law points out that the subconscious mind will make the desired changes when it perceives that the changes are indeed desired. To do so, the subconscious mind reads two signals from the conscious mind in order to determine the strength of the overall desire. If those two signals are congruent with each other the signal becomes an instruction to program your subconscious mind. But if the signals are incongruent they will neutralize each other and the signal won’t get through:
1. The Thought Signal: Affirmations, auto-suggestions, and visualizations in the mind’s eye and ear.
2. The Emotional Signal: The emotional “charge” that goes with the thought. If one repeats an affirmation over and over while feeling discouraged and hopeless the signal will not get through.
The Law of Growth: This Law of the subconscious mind proposes that “what you think upon grows, and what you don’t atrophies — in other words, “use it or lose it”. What we are learning about the mind bears out the truth of this principle (see the Law of practice above). Fox states, “You cannot dwell upon one thing while trying to create another” — What do you spend your time dwelling upon? Is it what you want or what you don’t want?
It is amazing how people intuitively knew about Heeb’s Laws of Neuroplasticity 50 years before it was uncovered! Even though we know why this happens it is still amazing! Something in the subconscious mind (Spiritual True Self? Holy Spirit?) knows everything about you and how thiings work.