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The Power of Subconscious Learning: Transform Your Thoughts, Transform Your Life

images-823Findings show that thoughts are powerful activators of life transforming inner processes. They activate neurochemical signals that accordingly generate emotions and actions, learning and change, to include the formation of behavioral patterns or habits.

Subconscious learning in itself is a powerful and efficient built-in capacity. When what we learn is aligned by chance to our goals and highest interests for personal and relational health and well being, it can support us to grow in positive directions and to realize amazing and creative outcomes and passions. What if it doesn’t however? Limiting beliefs or toxic thinking patterns can harm our health, keep us stuck in life-draining addictive behavior patterns, and at best place limits on our happiness.

Even in the best of circumstances, we pick up limiting belief wiring in the formative years of childhood. At this time they were useful. They serve to protect us at a time in our lives when we are most vulnerable emotionally, and thus also physically. The same belief systems that defend and ensure our survival in childhood, however, later in life become obstacles to our growth and realization of our fullest potential to find meaning, and create a joy filled life.

Unless transformed or rewired to tell a different more empowering story of your life, these beliefs produce a toxic stream of thoughts that subconscious keep us stuck going in the same direction.

To your brain and body, to grow means to change. And to change in positive directions means to learn and grow from within. To truly influence “change” in others and life around you, your greatest source of power as a human being always lies in what you have most control of, and that always means you, for example, being aware of what thoughts, beliefs may be blocking you at any moment (from influencing change around you).

We are conditioned to think too highly of our ability (power) to change others (mostly illusion), and sit passively on what is the real miracle-making power to change self from within.

Several actions are necessary to transform thoughts and limiting beliefs, however, the most important has to do with what you choose to believe about your self in relation to life around you.

More specifically, do you overall perceive (think and feel) yourself as an active choice maker or agent, a conscious creator of past and present outcomes in your life (yes… acts of Nature are exceptions) — or do you overall perceive outcomes to be a result of what others or life has brought your way?  These states of mind are also known respectively as being “at cause” versus “at effect.”

Regardless your decision, each produces a feeling state of mind and body that accordingly has the power to shape the direction of your life.

Whereas the latter leaves you feeling you’re passively watching your life on a movie screen, in the former, you are in the movie taking the reins of your life, with set intentions of what the story is about in the theater of your mind: your imagination.

A person is either in a place of protection or a place of growth. For healing to take place, you need to make a conscious choice, at any given moment, to step into a place of growth and learning. 

When you are in position to make any transformations you want, you will succeed. It is not a one time choice, however.

The reason you succeed is because your intention is, at minimum, to keep choosing to do the following along the way:

  • To feel fully responsible for your own results.
  • To be “at cause” and present during the healing process.
  • To seek to connect with your inner sources of strength and wisdom.
  • To breathe, and remain aware of staying grounded and centered deep in your body.
  • To want to live life with your brain and body in growth and learning mode.
  • To face any fear of change or getting out of old comfort zones courageously.

When you are “at cause,” you see your choices are in your hands (personal power) and, at any given moment, you choose to fully participate in your life, and stay connected to your mind and body, so that your brain and body are in growth and learning mode, in position to make any transformations you want (rather than hang around waiting for this or that person or situation to change…which puts one in stuck thinking and protective).

When you are in growth and learning mode, you become who you are capable of becoming, alive, vibrant, fulfilled, healed, mind, body and spirit.

You are the one you heals yourself. Be at cause and in growth. The choice is between thinking of yourself as either “at cause” or “at effect.” What does it mean to be at cause? It is a place of power in which we choose to take responsibility for everything that happens to us in our lives and universe. It is the experience of moving forward from a place of strength while being in growth.  What does it mean to be at effect? When we choose to be at the effect of things, we describe ourselves as a victim of events and others. This is a place of protection while we work at maintaining what we already have. This is a place of stagnation, standing still, paralyzed by fear.

The other key element of healing is breath. In the theater of the mind, you center and ground your mind and body through breath, and the power of your awareness of your senses, emotions, thoughts, options, and so on, help you more easily remain oriented toward optimal health and wholeness.

Breathing is the only method known to affect the automatic nervous system permanently through the experience of quantum energy transformation.

1. Stop, breathe, think—keeping your attention on your breath…giving thanks to your Source, a loving breath.

2. Breathe deep and long breaths…into the base of your spine.

3. Allow your body to open, relax, soften.

4. Follow the impulses, movement in the body…allow.

5. Tell the truth…as it’s real for you…allow all thoughts and feelings…welcome all energies…they come up so they can be transformed:

    • What are you telling yourself?
      • Release judgments
      • “See” their “value” (good intentions)
    • What feelings are you experiencing?
      • Invite them to come up, feel them in your body…
    • Where in your body do you experience the feelings?
      • Trust your body…your mind-body always tells you the truth
      • The molecules of emotion are not confined to brain, but in every cell of body.
    • What unmet need is connected to the feeling?


The thoughts you think in your conscious mind, especially when receptive, becomes integrated subconsciously. They form subconscious learning. What you “create” in your mind (chose to believe) about the past in the present is more useful and helpful than knowing the details of what happened.

To grow in positive directions (or negative) means to want to change from within. Your main source of power to influence change around you just may be the one you least access — inside — the power of your choice to change your thoughts or thinking about your self, others, your life. 

(All the doctors and experts in the world can do little for someone who is not invested in own growth, does not want to change, meaning their energy is devoted to telling the same life story.)

These feeling states are a powerful language inside. They consist of electrochemical molecules of emotion that accordingly produce actual structural changes inside your body — and behaviors without.

Transform your thoughts and beliefs about your past (and, or future) in present moments…and you will more easily and naturally transform your life. The determining factor is a choice between relating to your life at cause or effect.

The Power of Subconscious Learning: Transform Your Thoughts, Transform Your Life

Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Relationship consultant, author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik motivates clients to break free of anxiety, emotion reactivity, and other addictive patterns, to awaken wholehearted relating to self and other. She is currently in private practice in Northern VA, and writing her book, What a Narcissist Means When He Says 'I Love You'": Breaking Free of Addictive Love in Couple Relationships. To contact Dr. Staik for information, an appointment or workshop, visit, or visit on her two Facebook fan pages DrAthenaStaik and DrStaik

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APA Reference
Staik, A. (2014). The Power of Subconscious Learning: Transform Your Thoughts, Transform Your Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Apr 2014
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