When your subconscious mind does not cooperate with your plans, though it may feel like a saboteur, in reality, it’s more like a scared parent. It’s been tracking your beliefs. You’ve scared it into thinking you need to be rescued (by your defense strategies).

It also believes your physical survival is at stake in any emotionally painful situations, when it’s not (hopefully)!

Whenever you get triggered, unless you know how to calm your mind and body, your subconscious mind automatically activates the “fight or flee” response, which interrupts all normal processes of the body to redirect the energy of all systems in the service of your survival.

What’s the real cause of this reactivity? Limiting beliefs.

A belief is limiting when it sets conditions that seriously limit your chances of successfully getting what you really want in life. It stirs survival fears of rejection, abandonment, inadequacy, among others.

How? Beliefs form perceptions in your mind that your subconscious relies on to filter incoming data. These perceptions then act as illusions that cause your subconscious mind to misperceive situations as “threats.”

Your subconscious mind does not know the difference between a physical threat to your survival and an emotional threat, such as not feeling loved or valued. It communicates through emotional and sensory signals. The anxiety, fear or hurt you feel when you stew, for example, on why your partner is “always” late or “never” plans a romantic date, is enough to activate your survival response.

It’s a predictable pattern. Limiting beliefs cause images in the mind that, in turn, cause the fear reactivity that activates your survival response.

Defensiveness can cause very real problems in life. When your body is in survival mode among the processes that are severely interrupted is your capacity for clear thinking and logic. This explains why you say or do things, when you get triggered, that you normally wouldn’t. Literally, your IQ drops a few levels.

Thus, it’s essential that you learn what you need to develop the emotional mastery that allows you to calm your mind and body, at will.

Since words cause emotional states, one of the ways to build your capacity to calm your mind and body is to develop an awareness of the power of words on your own and others’ emotional states.

The subconscious, however, cannot alter your beliefs. This is a task for your conscious mind, more specifically, your capacity to choose to develop conscious awareness of your thoughts and feelings, and to shift and replace limiting beliefs with empowering ones, as necessary, in order to consciously create a sense of safety for yourself in situations that normally trigger fear or anxiety.

For now, try this exercise, to test the power of words in altering your emotional states.

  1. Decide on a day that you observe your thoughts and record any “limiting” thoughts or beliefs that include the words “should” or “must” or “have to” and so on.
  2. Have a pad and pencil handy and write them down on the left hand side.
  3. On the right hand side, rewrite each of those thoughts, replacing the “should” words with “want to” or “choose to” or even “love to” or “delight in.”
  4. Read the “should” thought on the left, then the “choose to” one on the right. Can you feel the difference?
  5. Now close your eyes and, one at a time, out loud, say each pair of “should” and “choose to” thoughts. Is the felt difference more intense with your eyes closed?

When you transform your thoughts, you transform your life. It’s not the words that have transformational power, however. It is the felt meanings of words that rewire the neural patterns of your brain.

If you tried the exercise above, let me know how it goes! In any case, I welcome your comments! Thanks for your support.



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Mental Health Social (January 15, 2011)

From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (January 15, 2011)

Ian Mclean (January 15, 2011)

Frank Walker (January 15, 2011)

Andy Black (January 15, 2011)

Delicious Flavour (January 15, 2011)

Athena Staik, Ph.D. (January 15, 2011)

Carolyn Anderson (January 15, 2011)

Ann Becker-Schutte (January 16, 2011)

From Psych Central's World of Psychology:
Best of Our Blogs: January 18, 2011 | World of Psychology (January 18, 2011)

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    Last reviewed: 25 Jul 2011

APA Reference
Staik, A. (2011). The Uncooperative Subconscious Mind: Saboteur or Scared Parent?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 1, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/relationships/2011/01/the-uncooperative-subconscious-mind-saboteur-or-scared-parent/



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