My friend once asked me – Does Autosuggestion Work? I said ‘Yes’ it works. She replied, so if I keep saying “I am rich” for the next 30 days will I become rich? What do you think, will she become rich? What would you reply to her?
I said ‘No’ – She got irritated and said then what’s the use of autosuggestion, I don’t think it will work for me.
Are you like my friend who has probably heard about autosuggestion, perhaps tried it and failed at it? If ‘Yes’, then give me five minutes and continue reading this post to discover the truth about autosuggestion.
In the last few decades there has been a revolution going on in the area of self-development. Now it has become very clear that one of the main things influencing the quality of people’s lives is their way of thinking. It is one’s mental attitude which is playing a major role in the areas of self-esteem, confidence, health, relationships and finances – Do you agree with me on this?
Autosuggestion is a technique, if used properly, can immensely help in shaping our thoughts or mental attitude to improve the quality of our life. Before I explain the science of why autosuggestion works, let us understand how it originated and what is autosuggestion all about.
Origin of Autosuggestion
The man who is considered to be the father of autosuggestion is Emile Coue. He was a French pharmacist and self trained psychologist who lived in the early 1900s. He operated a free clinic in France where students from around the world to learn autosuggestion techniques.
The main premise of his method was that if you repeat a statement orally or mentally, with feeling for about 15 minutes a day and do it consecutively for 21 days then it will become a command for your brain which it will execute.
His most famous sentence, which helped many people to heal from various illness was “Every day in every way I am getting better and better”. This statement was recited 20 times every morning right after waking up and 20 times every night right before going to bed. The key thing is this statement was to be recited verbally, softly with faith but without brutal force or effort.
Remember my friend above, I told her “No” when she asked me “Will I become rich, if I keep repeating I am rich for the next 30 days”. The reason I said ‘No’ is that there was no faith or emotion behind that statement, she was merely trying to produce an outcome through sheer effort – This is not the correct way and you will never succeed with autosuggestion if you use it in this manner. I shall talk about this more but first let’s understand the science behind autosuggestion.
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How & Why Autosuggestion Works (Scientific Explanation)
The question that many people and I am assuming you reading this post might also have is how can life change by merely repeating a bunch of statements. Is life so simple?
I know people who often laugh when they hear about autosuggestion or affirmations and even mock at people who are doing or practicing autosuggestion. So let’s understand what is the actual mechanism behind autosuggestion.
The answer lies in the field of neuroscience. Simply stated, autosuggestion reinforces a chemical pathway in the brain, making the connection between neurons stronger. It is known that neurons that are routinely fired in a specific pattern will strengthen their bond, that way wiring in a complex network that will be automatically set off whenever a trigger is presented in one’s life. We might conclude that something similar to this process is what goes on in someone’s brain when they practice autosuggestion.
This reminds me of a famous experiment which was once done on dogs. Every time the owner gave food to his dogs he would at the same time ring a bell. Over a period of time after repeating this enough number of times, the dogs would salivate by just hearing the bell with no food around. Practically the dogs created a new neural pathway in their brains in which they connected sight of the food with the sound of the bell.
Coming back to human beings we also have also created millions of neural pathway in our brains. Some pathways are created consciously and some have been created subconsciously. According to psychologists the child’s character is created in the first several years of its life. If the child repeatedly hears ‘You are no good’ or ‘You are stupid’ it creates an appropriate neural pathway in its brain and his or her character is shaped accordingly. The same is true for positive statements like ‘You are smart’ or ‘You are a good boy or girl’. This is the very reason why some people have positive or negative beliefs about themselves.
So the question is can these negative beliefs be changed?
The answer is ‘Yes’ by autosuggestion the neurons will keep firing and the appropriate neural pathway will be formed and strengthened. When this new pathway becomes strong enough the person will enact or behave as per the new belief. This process is not that simple as it sounds. Now that the science behind how autosuggestion is clear, we shall look into the difficulties or challenges while practicing autosuggestion.
Challenges While Practicing Autosuggestion
Lack of patience is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to practicing autosuggestion. Majority of us including me want quick results, we expect the programming of our mind to happen within few days of practicing autosuggestion. Let’s understand this in more detail.
Let’s assume you have a belief ‘I am stupid’ and you want to change this to ‘I am smart’. First thing to understand is that most of our beliefs are formed in our early childhood days. Since your childhood days you may have faced innumerable experiences / situations in which this belief got reinforced. Perhaps you did something wrong and your teacher passed a remark ‘How stupid are you to do this’ or your parents told you this or your friends kept mocking at you all the time that ‘You are a stupid fellow’.
Now here’s my point – The belief ‘I am stupid’ is strongly ingrained in your brain, now when you start to practice an autosuggestion “I am smart” you will feel weird in the beginning because you feel that the opposite is true (I am stupid). This happens because the neural pathway containing this belief (I am stupid) is stronger than the new pathway (I am smart).
As you practice autosuggestion there can be a recurrence of situation or event which makes you believe or reinforce the belief ‘I am stupid’. This can be counterproductive. This happens to me several times as I practice autosuggestion. In such instances it is important to remind ourselves that it is the old pathway which is still dominant in our brain and we need to continue with the practice of autosuggestion. Sometimes it is like a war going on between the old pathway & new pathway and one has to be persistent enough until the new pathway wins i.e. it should become stronger than the old pathway.
You might wonder so how do you need to practice autosuggestion to implant new beliefs or to create a new neural pathway ? Is it the magic number 21 days?
Unfortunately the answer is “No”, the time period of 21 days would be enough for a person who does not have any negative pathway and wants to create new positive one. Most people already have a lot of negative stuff which they want to change. Hence, to reprogram or to replace the old pathways you need to be persistent.
Quite frankly there is no ‘magic number’ because every person is different and so is their programming, so until you don’t feel / see improvement keep repeating the autosuggestion. This is the major hurdle for many people as they don’t know how much time will it take to replace their old beliefs. Hence, many people try autosuggestion and quit after a couple of weeks as they don’t see any change. They forget the fact that these old neural pathways have been formed as a result of their thinking over the years (probably since childhood) and you cannot expect these to change in 2 or 3 weeks.
So here is my question to you:
How do you effectively use autosuggestion to bring about the change in your old neural pathways or replace the old ones with new pathways? The answer is you need to incorporate autosuggestion as a part of your daily routine. In simple words; make autosuggestion a daily practice. Let me show you some ways to do this.
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How To Use Autosuggestion in 3 Powerful Ways
If you have read so far, by now you know that autosuggestion is a powerful technique through which you can influence your mind and thereby your attitude. Now I shall share with you three powerful ways of integrating autosuggestion in your daily routine;
Writing is a traditional however an effective method to reprogram your mind. Take a piece of paper and fold it from the center so that we have two sides of the paper i.e. left and right.
On the left side of the page mention the list of negative things you wish to change. On the right side of the page rewrite every negative statement into a positive statement.
While writing positive statements avoid sentences starting with “I will be” instead use statements in present tense “I am”. Here are some examples:
- I am enjoying good health.
- I am getting better at my work every day.
- I am transforming into a loving and kind person every day.
Use powerful words so that you can feel the emotions as you write them. Once you are done writing, you can fold the paper in half. Make sure the positive statement side is showing. You can now pin it near your dressing table or refrigerator. The idea is to read the positive statements on a daily basis.
Another option (if you have the time) is to write the positive statements on a daily basis in a journal. Research by neuroscientists suggests when you are writing something down with a pen and paper, you are stimulating a collection of cells in the base of your brain known as the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS is the filter for all the information your brain needs to process and it gives more attention to what you are currently focusing on. In other words, the physical act of writing brings the information to the forefront and triggers your brain to pay close attention. if you have the time I would definitely recommend you this method.
Visualization is type of exercise wherein you need to imagine or have a mental imagery of your desired outcome. The best part about visualization is that it helps to trigger an emotion with the desired image. As explained earlier, when it comes to autosuggestion sheer mental force of repeating statements will not be of any help. However, if you can feel, imagine then it will be of great help to you for programming your mind with positive beliefs.
One very important point to note is that visualization and autosuggestion work best when you are in relaxed state of mind. Hence, before you practice autosuggestion, take a minute or two to relax your mind.
As you repeat your autosuggestion, visualize yourself experiencing them. Create a mental image and associate with it, the more meaning and emotion you can evoke with that image the more efficient it becomes. For example: If you want a promotion or a raise in salary then see yourself talking to your manager regarding the same and see in your mind the manager congratulating you on your promotion or salary hike.
Repetition is the key for success, so try to visualize two or three times a day and be consistent with your practice.
This is very similar to a guided meditation track. The idea here is to record your autosuggestion through a voice recorder and then play it on your phone or any music player. These tracks can have your own voice or you can purchase a self suggestion kit (I have shared a link below, you can check it). I personally prefer this method and use it till today.
You can use headphones and listen to these recordings before you go to sleep. Always remember your mind is most open to suggestion when it is relaxed so do not forget to relax, take some deep breaths so that you get into the right state of mind.
Again as you hear the recordings put as much emotion you can into the autosuggestion. You can visualize yourself to create the feelings and emotions while listening to the recordings.
So that’s it my friend, I hope you now have answers to the what and how of autosuggestion. If you still need help, feel free to post your questions in the comments box. Also, always remember there are no shortcuts, you need to be persistent, diligent and repeat it on a daily basis to see your life change in astonishing ways.
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This Post Has 18 Comments
This is a very powerful post. What I mean is, autosuggestion or using mantras is a very effective way of making changes to what your brain perceives in your outside world.
I love using autosuggestion when I want to see someone I haven’t seen in a long time. I have faith that it works and it normally does within a week or two.
Thank you for this very insightful post that everyone needs to read and try it on their own to experience the results.
I appreciate your views and thanks for sharing your experiences. I am glad you enjoyed reading the post ~ Stay Blessed 🙂
Ah, the Law of Attraction and really something I haven’t practiced, but I do meditate on a daily basis because of Reiki that I am involved in.
I always understood with the law of attraction you have to be in the moment as if it as already happened and the two most important words which you mention are “I am”
I get deep into meditation and it gets me to the OBE state but not for everyone.
Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed it.
I am glad to know that you meditate on a daily basis and thanks for sharing your experience ~ Stay Blessed 🙂
You hit the nail on the head here! I love that you answered “NO” to your friend in the beginning story. You are right, you need to have a belief that you will be rich. Also you shouldn’t have a time frame for something like that. You could be well on your way in 30 days – or richer but it is highly unlikely that you would go from 0 to a million in 30 days. That reminds me of so many stories where the person decided that they wanted to be some version of successful, they told themselves that they would and they moved toward that goal much more quickly than they ever imagined.
Autosuggestion is powerful. There are too many “coincidences” for it not to be true. Love the article and I will be checking out the rest of your site too.
Absolutely – I concur with your views completely. I am glad you enjoyed reading the post ~ Stay Blessed 🙂
I think all of us have negative self-talk that keeps us from achieving what we can accomplish. Your article gives a good plan to change that through the persistence of writing, visualizing, and following the guided recordings you suggest. Would you start with one phrase or would you do multiple self-talk phrases to change your thought patterns? Thanks for the information.
I am happy you found this post useful. To answer your questions: I would say it depends, you can start with a single phrase or multiple self talk statements. The key as I mentioned in the post, every time you write that phrase or say it out loud – “You should feel the emotions”. Hope that helps ~ Stay Blessed 🙂
Wow! Very interesting read! I’ve heard of this before and have wondered if it really works. It does make sense though! Is this similar to subliminal messages?
Autosuggestion is a form of self-induced suggestion (in relaxed state of mind) in which individuals guide their own thoughts, feelings, or behavior whereas Subliminal messages are passed to the human mind without the mind being consciously aware of it. Hope this helps ~ Stay Blessed 🙂
This is a very interesting subject. You draw interesting connections between the state of mind that would be most fertile for effective autosuggestion and the process of meditation. It sounds that meditation would be a good preparation for autosuggestion. Do you think that any specific form of meditation would be most conducive to preparing the mind for autosuggestion? If I might add another question – would you not also think that honestly examining and fully understanding your own motivation for any specific subject of autosuggestion is an important determinant in the probability of success? Thanks and best regards, Andy
As stated in the post, for autosuggestion to work, it is important you get into the right state of mind i.e. calm and relaxed. To instantly relax and calm your mind you can carry out “Breath Meditation” wherein you close your eyes and begin the practice of paying attention to every breath you inhale and exhale. Every time you breath in, feel the air going in and when you exhale, feel the air going out. Do these few 3-4 times and you will start experiencing a sense calm and peace filling your mind.
The answer to your second question is – Yes, it does help in knowing what you want or are motivated by. Using sheer mental force of repeating statements will not be of any help. However, if you can feel (i.e. evoke an emotion) or have a mental imagery of your desired outcome then it will be of great help to you for programming your mind ~ Stay Blessed 🙂
This is a great concept. I seem to understand from this post that Autosuggestion works on things that are affected by your attitude, such as “I am confident” rather than things that your attitude cannot change, such as “I will pass a test” (where you have not put the work in). I really do believe that your attitude to factors of your life affects who you are and what you will do, I just didn’t know that was called auto suggestion. With that said, I love learning something new everyday and this is definitely a strategy I will try to use. Thanks for sharing!
Yes indeed attitude is everything in life. Autosuggestion is a powerful technique through which you can influence your mind and thereby your attitude. I am glad this post helped you in learning something new today ~ Stay Blessed 🙂
Combining music with meditation can deepen the positive effects of both and brings me greater stress relief. Autosuggestion technique is fantastic and you have explained this beautifully. I highly appreciate this.
Yes, any kind of soothing music which helps your mind to relax will be beneficial. It is important to remember here that Autosuggestion works the best when your mind is calm and quiet. Ensure you listen to the recordings in the right state of mind ~ Stay Blessed 🙂
Autosuggestion will definitely not work without faith. I agree with you. It reminds of a documentary i saw about autosuggestion. The documentary talked about how we become what we think about of ourselves. Thoughts are really somethings we need to understand how they work and master them. Wrong thoughts are killers. Thank you for this wonderful article Satish.
Thanks for sharing your experience and I concur with your views, we do need to pay attention to our thoughts as they influence our attitudes and actions in life ~ Stay Blessed 🙂