When I was a child, anytime I felt nervous or insecure about anything, or I didn’t feel well, I wanted my mother to assure me that all would be okay. But that wasn’t enough. I insisted she end her sentences with: “I’m positive.” I didn’t realize at the time that I was basically asking for a positive affirmation, what I later learned was a powerful tool to enable us to basically turn our lives around.
Indeed, C. James Jensen, author of Beyond the Power of Your Subconscious Mind, says that using affirmations is one of the best things you can do to get more out of every aspect of your life, and in particular, your personal health. “Self-talk,” he says, “is the means by which the power of the subconscious mind can be directed and channeled towards any greater good. The subconscious is forever present, always available to carry out the ‘commands’ given to it by the conscious area of the mind. The subconscious does not question the value of our ‘commands,’ but just proceeds to fulfill such ‘instructions.’”
Jensen asks us to imagine an ocean liner crossing the sea with the captain of the ship barking out orders to the crew who may be located deep in the hold, below the water line and unable to see where the ship is going. “The captain is analogous to the conscious area to the mind,” he continues. “In this example, the crew is like the subconscious. So when the captain commands, for example ‘Full speed ahead, 15 degrees to the North’ the crew simply responds, ‘Aye Aye, Sir,’ and carries out its orders precisely.” The crew, you see, does not care if it runs the ship into the rocks, collides with another vessel, or gets the ship safely to its destination. It is totally non-judgmental and does not question “The Boss,” who in this case is the captain of the ship.
This is a powerful metaphor of the relationship between the conscious and subconscious areas of the mind, Jensen feels. And these are not two separate minds, but two spheres of the same mind. “If you seek to harness this power, you must consciously be aware of how you talk to yourself and specifically what you say to yourself. You may want to ‘cancel’ certain thoughts or statements often said in frustration and substitute the language consistent with the picture you want to create.”
He gives us an example: “I am so lazy. I keep forgetting to go to my exercise class. I’ll never get in shape!”
But is that really what we want to be commanding to our subconscious mind when our goal is to become more orderly and punctual? “Of course not!” he insists.
According to Jensen, if you find yourself making such a statement in anger or frustration, simply put your record button on “Pause.” Then take a couple of deep breaths and say “Cancel.” As you do this, visually see yourself erasing the negative statement you just made.
“Now take two more breaths,” he advises, “and with a smile in your heart say to yourself: ‘Every day and in every way I am getting better at being punctual and always on time for my exercise class. I feel good about the fact I am steadily improving my health and fitness.’”
You must choose to repeat this to yourself 2-3 times every day. You want to totally erase (or cancel) the negative beliefs and leave the subconscious with a clear positive visual picture of the “new you” who “feels good about the fact you are always on time.”
You may be understandably skeptical that by just saying certain words you can bring about significant positive changes in your behavior. But affirmations do work. “Realize that the greatest testimony to the effectiveness of affirmations comes from millions of people who have shared their real life experiences of the positive changes, healing, growth in relationships, family dynamics, sports performance and business success, to name a few, that all come from having incorporated the daily practice of positive affirmations into their lives.”
Affirmations are most effective when you write them down and then prioritize them in order of their importance to you. It is also best to have no more than 15 goals at any one time. As you achieve each goal, one at a time, you can always add a new goal.
“It is crucial that you build balance into your goal-setting. Balancing business, family relationships and personal health is essential,” Jensen says. “And once you have your goals clearly defined, you want to create a mental picture of what the accomplishment of those goals would look like in your own life. Then you create the words to support the picture (goal) as though it were true today, i.e. ‘I look good and feel good at __pounds;’ or ‘I eat only enough to maintain my perfect weight of ___pounds;’ or ‘I enjoy the benefits of exercising every day and never miss a day.’”
Say these statements (your affirmations) out loud to yourself; and while you do, see the end result (the picture) in your mind as though it were true right now. It is not the words that record in your subconscious. It is the pictures your words create, along with the feelings or emotions associated with those pictures, that are implanted in your subconscious.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this post, in which I outline six key affirmations for improving your life.