How Patterns of Thought form Habits of Behaviour
“Your brain is wired for instruction; the question is what instructions are you giving it?”
“While most of us are aware that we have something called a subconscious mind within us, there are very few of us who know much about it, let alone how to harness its power. This is unfortunate, for your subconscious mind can and should be a great ally in achieving success in your life.” This is according to John Kehoe on Mind Power.
Joseph Murphy in his book, The Power of the Subconscious Mind, says that “Everything you find in your world of expression has been created by the inner world of your mind, whether consciously or unconsciously. Once you learn the truth about the interaction of your conscious and subconscious minds, you will be able to transform your whole life.”
99FM’s MYD Heart sat down with Namibian Clinical Psychologist Ute Sinkala, to help us understand a bit more about the subconscious mind.
According to Ute, the role our subconscious mind has in how we respond to situations stems from the fact that “everything you have learnt from the time you were a baby is stored in your subconscious. From the moment you took your first steps, and all the trial attempts at walking before then, the information is stored in the subconscious so that today you are able to walk without having to think about the action before you do it.”
Ute goes on to explain that “knowing that everything you have learnt is stored in your subconscious means that you know that you can access your past learning when you need it.”
Ute notes that in difficult times in life you can call on this knowledge and this should act as a comfort to you. “When you are worried about how you are going to cope in a difficult time, remember you have gone through difficult things that you learnt to overcome. You can rest assured that the ability to overcome is within you. You have been through tough times before. All you need to do is stop trying to control what is happening around you with your conscious mind and your subconscious mind will guide you.”
However considering all of the exposure we have had in our lives, it stands to reason that some of the thoughts in our subconscious mind might not be supportive of who we want to be and what we want to achieve. Ute notes that “your brain is wired for instruction; the question is what instructions are you giving it?”
Taking into account the simple accept and store mode that the subconscious takes in information, Ute explains that “whatever instruction you give your mind needs to be as you wish it to be, as your subconscious does not understand positive and negative but simply accepts whatever you tell it. For example, you shouldn’t say today I do not want to be depressed, but rather today I am filled with joy.” The key, it seems is clear and direct instructions. Asking for what you want rather than what you don’t want. This according to Ute is “thought restructuring.” When asked why we would need to restructure our thoughts, Ute explains “this is about using strategies to deal with life’s problems” in a way that propels us forward and does not “ignore problems.” She notes that “this is where personal choice comes in. You are choosing to tell your mind what the feelings are that you want to feel because your mind determines what emotions you feel.”
Ute notes that we can all re-write patterns of thought in our subconscious minds that are not supportive, however the process takes time. She suggests starting by “becoming aware of your thoughts. We are all thinking all of the time but the questions are what are you thinking? How are you talking to yourself? From here you can start to turn your negative thoughts into positive thoughts. This is not denial, this is choice.”
Ute goes on to explain that in her practice she starts a process by asking her patient to write a mantra for their life. These mantras are affirmations or affirmative words that build you and your self-esteem. By repeating your personal mantra throughout the day you are starting to build pathways in your brain of positive, self-affirming thought.
Ute points to the miraculous ability the body has to heal itself, noting research she was recently going through that demonstrates the body’s ability to regenerate every cell, every seven years.
DIY Health notes that “Approximately 90 percent of our processing power comes from the subconscious mind and this includes body functions like digesting, breathing etc.” Their article on the subconscious mind states that “Your conscious mind sets goals but your subconscious mind either helps or prevents you from carrying them out.”
Ute says that “if you change the way you talk to yourself, and this is not only verbal talking but also the way you talk to yourself in your head, you will change your life for the better.” She notes that in life “people respond better to positive affirmations than to being reprimanded.”
New Thought Library, which is an online library exploring the history of thought and the evolution of thought and form, explains “Our unconscious minds are replete with habits and thinking patterns. The unconscious is neutral in a moral sense and therefore adopts any habit or pattern that it is given. If we allow negative images to drop into our unconscious minds, we cannot be surprised when these images emerge to express themselves in our daily experiences and relationships.”
Ute also adds that “You can’t choose to live a healthier life but still eat junk food every day and expect to see results. You need to do the work.” She adds though that “everyone is different so find the affirmation or mantra that works for you and start there. It is not a difficult process, it just takes time and it is about being nice to yourself.”
Get in touch with Ute at Sinkala Psychology in Windhoek on +264 (0) 61 309376 or +264 (0) 81 6633513
Article written by Kirsty Watermeyer