How to Program Your Mind to Get Everything You Want Out of Life
by Erika Slater
Let’s think for a moment what this could mean for you…
You could increase your overall sense of well-being.
You could improve your mood states when it comes to completing goals you’ve set for yourself.
You could overcome difficulties falling asleep at night and getting a deep restful sleep.
You could make habit changes such as to quitting smoking or losing weight easier.
How interested would you be in helping yourself get what you want – good outcomes?
Well, there are methods for creating lasting improvement and change, and it all starts with you as you already possess all of the answers… at least your brain does!
If that all sounds interesting to you then read on…
WHAT IS THE RETICULAR ACTIVATING SYSTEM?
The RAS is effectively a filter which operates between your conscious and unconscious mind.
Let’s demonstrate the RAS in action using an example most people can relate to – buying a new car. You recently purchased a Subaru Forester because you’ve heard it’s great for the New England weather.
You pick up the car from the dealer and over the course of the next week are astounded by suddenly how many other Subaru Foresters there are on New England roads.
You see them everywhere!
As much as you may want to think suddenly you’ve become a trend setter and everybody was just waiting for you to pick your choice of car before they rushed out to get one… the truth is the Subaru Foresters were always there. You just didn’t notice them before.
But because you’re now the proud owner of a Subaru Forester it has entered your RAS and this makes sure to bring to your attention every Subaru Forester you now see when out driving. This also happens with colors. If you buy a yellow car or a yellow house, suddenly you see them everywhere, even though they were always there your RAS antenna is up and scanning for you!
Another way to look at the RAS is like a filter.
Say you have an air filter in a room in your house. The air that’s present in the room gets sucked into the cleaner and the filter removes the impurities, dust and bacteria before shooting out the purified air into the room so you can breathe easier. Your RAS operates on the same principle.
The RAS takes whatever information and instructions your conscious mind gives it, and passes them into your unconscious mind filtered. Keep in mind the instructions (or filter) are what you give it, therefore they may not always give you the best outcomes should you be thinking irrationally to begin with!
Herein lies the problems with RAS functioning in many people.
Unfortunately, too many are thinking negative thoughts based on worries, fears and their irrationalizations, so their systems get the wrong kinds of information filtered through them.
Let’s explore this important point more.
HOW THE RAS WORKS:
Continuing the filter analogy you might say one’s filtration system for the RAS gets ‘clogged‘ over a period of time if one get habituated into using negative thinking patterns.
In reality the filter isn’t really getting clogged as it’s doing its job based on your thought patterns.
You see, the unconscious mind doesn’t care if something is positive or negative, it accepts as the truth whatever is given to it by your thoughts. When you’ve the same conscious thought patterns, or have the same ‘negative‘ things you continually put your focus on, the unconscious mind is drawn to them like a magnet and says, “Aha! I know that!”
At this point, thoughts become more readily accepted as they come into the RAS and are then given clearance into the unconscious mind.
The RAS also houses your life filing system where it stores ‘stereotypes‘ of thoughts and quickly reaches into mental folders to extract out the sets of feelings, behaviors and actions that repeatedly go hand in hand with whatever your thoughts are at the time.
Over a period of time, it operates on autopilot and doesn’t discern whatever thoughts you’re telling it. It’s not judgemental – good or bad – positive or negative.
One more thing you should know is the RAS is strongly based on goal setting abilities.
What you continually tell it (think about or tell yourself over and over again) will become what it focuses on the most, and your unconscious energies will guide you in that specific direction for better, or for worse.
This is where the problems start for most people as they’re more likely to focus on the negative things that have happened to them, and in turn the feelings resulting from thoughts about what happened captures their focus.
Before long, you become fixated on thoughts and feelings associated with those negative experiences and encounters. You become “stuck” in your thought patterns whether they’re helping you or effectively working against you.
Since the RAS is important for bringing relevant information to the attention of your conscious mind, it’ll mirror whatever your conscious mind is giving it. In some ways it is like a cat chasing after its own tail!
Let’s say you’re feeling stressed out. You’ll start to feel overwhelmed, frustrated and stressed out. You will start to think, and may say things to yourself, or others, that assert you’re stressed. This goes through your RAS and into your unconscious mind because you give it permission.
Your unconscious mind then has free range in its ability to continually remind you you’re under stress. What this means is you’re likely to feel even more stressed out.
If you feel continually stressed out chances are you you’re also a person who tends to be very hard on yourself.
You’re more likely to dwell on disappointments and things that didn’t go well for you than all the great things that happened to you in a day. You may be very good at “beating yourself up” rather than spending time “pumping yourself up” for all the positives things you did that day.
Many people consider this is an indication of low self-esteem but in reality it’s more a lack of self-compassion for yourself. But that’s a different topic for another article.
The fact is your RAS will go into a loop where stress and negative thoughts are part of your everyday.
So what do you do?
HOW TO ADJUST YOUR RAS:
Just because your RAS is buried below the conscious mind doesn’t mean you don’t have access to it and cannot influence it.
What you think about most is what is going to trigger your RAS.
The key to activating it in a positive way is to think, and feel deliberately, in ways you want to see those thoughts and feelings manifest in your life. It’s all about being deliberate with your thoughts and intentions.
What would you say constitutes the bulk of your thoughts on any given day? Do you tend to have happy and joyful thoughts? If not, are your thoughts more on the sad or angry side of the coin?
Well, for starters whatever thoughts you have first start out in the mind. You choose whatever it is you want to feel based on your thoughts, and this becomes habitual, even the negative behaviors.
Let’s take for example smoking…
You see, for cigarette smokers what was once a conscious habit becomes unconscious with repeated experiences. Interesting enough this fact it has become an unconscious habit to them also helps with hypnosis being a viable treatment for smoking cessation.
In the beginning, smoking was a conscious act when it came to lighting up and desiring to smoke. Over time however, this connection becomes unconscious. Many smokers are talented at lighting a cigarette while operating a motor vehicle, working on a project, or when they’re in a dark room, and they don’t even burn themselves or fail at lighting the cigarette.
This act has become ingrained in their unconscious as if it has become a part of them, which for all intents and purposes it has based on their RAS.
Interestingly, these “lighting up periods” are often done unconsciously out of a mere repetition, even if they don’t really want to smoke. If you smoke or know someone who smokes, you’ll notice by habit whenever anything stressful happens they reach for their cigarettes and light up.
Their RAS has identified smoking is their stress relief, even if it’s damaging to their bodies, but the unconscious mind is only doing what it believes based on the RAS.
What you put into your RAS are ‘intentions‘.
You may set out with the best of intentions, but you might find your thoughts become self-destructing somewhere along the way.
For those who start out with destructive intentions that are self-sabotaging, they may assert even though they choose to be destructive, deep down they really don’t want to be this way. Rehearsed mental scripts become embedded in their unconscious mind and simply run on auto-pilot as these are ingrained mental scripts (cognitive scripts).
Your cognitive scripts are the by-products of your experiences.
Your experiences are perceived in a negative light, and judgement is passed. Many individuals who master the art of self-sabotage do so because they perceive themselves as a large part of the bad experience or the cause of the negative experience. They affix a worth on themselves based on that experience.
When you do this repeatedly, you perpetuate your own self-fulfilling prophecies of failure and come to believe things will always happen a certain way.
You’re likely to bring more similar experiences into your life because you’ve set these intention.
Your RAS is like a GPS, it instantly tells your unconscious mind to go to the same, familiar places. The key then is to set new, positive intentions that’ll over-ride the old ones, or cancel them out due to repetition!
Hypnosis is one way to retrain your RAS so you get what you want out of life.
USING HYPNOSIS FOR RAS CHANGE!
Hypnosis is beneficial for anyone seeking to change their mindset as well as modifying the functioning of their RAS.
Part of the problem is your mind has become too cluttered and inundated with distracting and negative mind chatter. Once you can experience a relaxed state of mind, you’ll be able to find this place where you can ‘go inside‘ of yourself and make the changes you’re hoping for. While under hypnosis, one’s brain wave patterns can also be changed, which will help to create new neural pathways for thinking and attention.
You can retrain your RAS this way.
The goal is to get yourself into a state of mental and physical relaxation to embed new thought patterns into your unconscious mind through the RAS. Once you achieve a relaxed state of mind, you’re able to shift into a theta brain wave pattern.
Hypnosis helps individuals shift into a stage of relaxation which helps tap into their subconscious minds and place suggestions into the unconscious to create new thought patterns which create new neural pathways.
It’s this state where the true potential of one’s subconscious resides and the ability for reshaping one’s thinking creates lasting effects.
Your RAS cannot distinguish between what is real and what you tell it is real.
The unconscious mind is like a sponge and magnet. First, whatever thoughts and perceptions you experience, go into the unconscious without any critical censorship. Whatever thought patterns have been sponged into the unconscious and accepted as truths will draw more of the same.
Under hypnosis, your goal(s) and intentions need to be a specific picture. For example if you’re a smoker intent on quitting, then picture being a non-smoker and enjoying all the benefits of being a non-smoker. Being attractive, eating and living a healthy existence, exercising and doing the things you can’t do today because of your habit. Get the picture – so to speak!
The RAS will then pass these intentions and goals into your unconscious mind where it’ll become embedded, just like all of the old negative beliefs, you know, the ones that once told you to light up cigarettes (if you’re a smoker) whenever you felt stressed?
This hypnotic process will greatly help you to achieve the goals you’ve set.
When you use hypnosis while in a relaxed state of mind, changes start to occur within the mind.
Your unconscious mind becomes more open and welcoming to the process of change and it’s extremely important to plant positive and constructive seeds (intentions) while in this state.
These seeds will grow through repetition and thought, and a positive mindset will be created.
Did you know all of your bad habits and negative patterns occurred this way unconsciously without hypnosis? Well, you have the chance to consciously make changes happen now by choosing hypnosis for lasting change! If you want to consider working directly with me on reprogramming your mind, through my online or in-office sessions, then check out my Special Hypnosis Services Programs or if you’ve a specific need around this topic then contact me here.
Hopefully by now you realize the importance of the Reticular Activating System and the role it plays in your life, and more importantly how you can influence it using hypnosis to get out of life everything you want.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES RELATED TO PROGRAM YOUR MIND:
Difference Between Self-Compassion and Self-Esteem – Kristin Neff, Ph.D
Erika Slater CH
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