The Power of Suggestion

Suggestions have a big influence over our lives. Tell anyone something convincingly enough and they’ll accept what you say. Tell them over and over again and sooner or later they’ll start to believe you.

Unfortunately it’s often the suggestions of others that we allow to control us. For instance:

  • Advertisers use them to persuade us to buy their products. Promotional suggestions are often recalled years after they ceased to be used.
  • Politicians use them too with catchy phrases (whether or not they’re true) as we’ve recently seen with the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit referendum.
  • Parents use them all the time. Young children tend to believe everything their parents say. E.g. when a young child gets hurt and Mum ‘kisses it better’ it does feel better, even though there’s no logical reason why it should.
  • Placebos – pills and potions with no active ingredients – can cure illnesses for no other reason than the patient believes they can. Placebos were once treated as a bit of a joke – as if the patient were ‘fooled’ into getting well -but now they’re taken very seriously indeed.
  • Suggestions don’t necessarily have to be direct: parents who receive a letter from school about head lice in their child’s class often feel itchy!
  • Nor do suggestions have to be verbal. Non-verbals (gestures, facial expressions and so on) can be even more powerful, and verbal suggestions backed up by visual, taste, tactile or olfactory stimuli can be extremely compelling.
  • Some hospital radio stations do not play certain records because of the effect they could have on patient recovery. For example, ‘My Way’ (‘And now the end is near, and so I face the final curtain’), ’ ‘The First Cut Is The Deepest’,  ‘I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight’ and ‘Help Me Make It Through The Night’ contain some unhelpful suggestions!

You’ve used suggestion many times, and it has also been used on you. You can learn to make good use of this vital tool to:

  • help internalise your goals.
  • replace negative attitudes and beliefs with positive ones.
  • relax and combat stress.
  • cultivate better relationships with yourself and others.
  • change unwanted habits and personality traits.
  • build confidence in yourself and your abilities.

… and for many other purposes.

Suggestion, Affirmations and the Law of Attraction

Affirmations are simply suggestions made to ourselves – statements that represent how we are or how we want our lives to be. They help bring into effect the great Universal Law of Attraction:

Whatever your mind dwells upon, with feeling, you attract into your life.

Think about it – do you know anyone who is always talking about their illnesses and who is always ill? Or anyone who is always running themselves down, and who consequently never achieves very much?

Affirmations are powerful tools that use the power of structured repetition. One of the best known was formulated by Emil Coué in the 1920’s: ‘Every day in every way, I’m getting better and better.’ He helped many people to heal themselves using this simple phrase. Try it for yourself!

Properly phrased affirmations make a big impact on your unconscious, but be aware you must observe certain rules, otherwise they may backfire.

The following rules apply to affirmations. They’re even more effective when used in conjunction with deep relaxation (this is called ‘autosuggestion’) – but slightly different rules apply.

Personalise your affirmations

Affirmations which attempt to change other people are totally ineffective. Repeating ‘Jim loves me’ does not work, because only Jim can make this choices. But you can affirm ‘I am attracting a wonderful person into my life who has… (all the qualities you’re looking for)’ You may not win Jim over, but you will find someone to your liking.

A simple way to personalise your affirmations is to use the first person pronoun, ‘I’. For example:

  • I accept, love and approve of myself.
  • Every day, I am becoming more calm, peaceful and relaxed.
  • I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, peaceful and happy.
  • I am a positive person. I think, act and talk positively at all times.

Another way to personalise – and strengthen – your affirmations – is to use the ‘first, second and third person’ technique. Let’s suppose you want to be a calmer and more confident person. Add your first name and affirm:

  • I, Chris, am a calm and confident person.
  • You, Chris, are a calm and confident person.
  • Chris is a calm and confident person.

Use positive words and phrases

It’s important to always use words and phrases that express what you want, not what you don’t want. Otherwise you might inadvertently end up with the opposite of what you intended.

The unconscious often overlooks a negation if it occurs in the middle of a sentence. If you affirm, ‘I will not fail’, only the word ‘fail’ registers. It’s far better to affirm, ‘I am a success’.

I recently heard a woman telling how she stuck little notices all over her house one morning reminding her not to forget her son’s team’s football kit for the match that afternoon. The notes said, ‘Don’t forget the kit’. Guess what happened!

Make your affirmations credible

This is one of the biggest secrets for using self-suggestion. The purpose of self-suggestion is to impress your unconscious with empowering beliefs which reflect the way you want to be. This is why some writers recommend stating all your affirmations in the present tense, i.e. beginning your affirmations with ‘I am’, ‘I can’, ‘I have’, ‘I do’ etc.

The problem, though, is that an affirmation which totally contradicts your current belief system alerts a mechanism in the brain known as the Reticular Activating System (or ‘Critical Censor’). It can assert itself in many ways, such as an uncomfortable feeling in the chest or solar plexus or a quiet but persistent voice in your head saying, ‘Don’t be ridiculous.’ This is your old programming and conditioning trying to reassert itself.

How do you get round this?

Firstly, consider affirmations as a tool for change rather than statements of absolute truth. Think of them as planting seeds. You won’t see the results immediately, but have faith in the technique, and you will.

Another way is to choose your wording carefully so the suggestion will bypass the Critical Censor. This is how:

  • Put all weaknesses and limitations in the past tense.
  • Affirm your willingness to change.
  • Affirm that you are making good progress towards your goal, and this continue.
  • Affirm your determination to do whatever you can to improve.

A useful form of wording is:

‘I used to be… but all that is changing. Now I am becoming more and more… ‘

For example, if you’re shy, affirm: ‘I used to be shy, but all that is changing. I am becoming more assertive every day. I know I can and I will continue to improve.’

More examples:

  • I used to believe that I was weak, but all that is changing, and I am now becoming stronger and stronger each day.
  • I used to be negative, but that attitude is now behind me. Nowadays I think, talk and act positively at all times.
  • I used to be judgemental, but that is now changing. Every day, I am becoming more open and accepting of myself and others.

Say your self-suggestions as if you really mean them

The Law of Attraction is widely misunderstood. Just wishing or hoping – even believing – are not enough. You must invest some energy into the conditions you wish to create. In other words, you must do something.

As a first step, invest some emotional energy into the affirmations themselves. Say them out loud, enthusiastically. Mean what you say. A thought alone has little power, but when expressed with genuine feeling, it has real impact. Emphasise your words with passion, a strong tone of voice, movement and firm intent.

For maximum impact, also:

  • Write them out every day – this reinforces them in your unconscious.
  • Look at yourself in the mirror as you speak them.
  • Jot them down in your diary, list them on cards, programme them into your mobile phone, carry them with you and read throughout the day.
  • Record them onto a recording device and listen frequently.
  • Write them on sticky labels and place them anywhere you routinely look.
  • If your goal is something tangible, carry a reminder of it with you and affirm that it is yours every time you look at it.
  • You can increase the effectiveness of your affirmations by adding, ‘This, or something better, I accept for myself, for my greatest good and the greatest good of all’.

Keep at it

The unconscious loves repetition. The more you use self-suggestion, the more effective it is.

It takes about a month to change an old thinking pattern, so don’t give up. Affirm whenever you can, wherever you are, especially during those times when the mind is naturally most receptive. Last thing at night is a good time – give it something uplifting to work on while you are asleep. Another good time is first thing in the morning. If you can find a few moments during the day to relax and unwind – terrific!

 

© David Lawrence Preston, 23.11.2018

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How To Books, 2004

The I-T-I-A Formula

I-T-I-A stands for:

Intention

Thought

Imagination

Action

The I-T-I-A Formula takes into account everything known about how mind processes information and brings about change. But you must do all four; otherwise the effects won’t be permanent.

Intention

Personal change starts with a decision – to learn a new skill, to develop a new personal quality and so on. For example, you could decide that from now on you’re always going to treat yourself with love and respect and behave confidently. It’s as simple as that.

Ask yourself:

What do you want out of life?

  • What kind of person would you like to be?
  • What changes would you like to make?
  • What are your goals? Are you prepared to commit to them?

Remember, the clearer your goals and the stronger your intentions, the more likely they are to be realised.

Thought

Step back and observe your self-talk (your thoughts). Are they generally positive or negative? What questions do you ask yourself? What are you trying to achieve by thinking that way?

Examine your attitudes and beliefs. Are they true? Do they serve you well? Where have they brought you so far?

The more positive your thinking, the happier you are and the more likely to succeed at whatever you set your mind to.

Imagination

Learn to use your creative imagination and intuition. They are the key to a successful future.

Imagine achieving your goals. What will they look like when brought to fruition? What will they sound like? Feel like? Do this often, especially when you are physically and mentally relaxed.

The imagination is the fast track to your unconscious mind. You can imprint your desires – and the belief that they will be met – on your unconscious using your imaginative faculties.

Action

Take small steps in the right direction – towards your goals – every day. You may feel uncomfortable, but ignore your discomfort, feel the fear and do it anyway.

Monitor your progress and make adjustments if necessary. Do more of what works and stop doing what doesn’t. Change never feels right, but when you act ‘as if’, eventually the uncomfortable feelings fade.

Keep going until success becomes a habit – every step reinforces your progress. And don’t be put off by others.

The process is a little like the old domino trick where the performer pushes over one domino and all the others fall over in sequence. Every change you make influences the next step, which in turn affects the step after that, and so on. The important thing is to begin. Go on – push over that first domino now. Promise yourself that you’ll give it your best and never give up!

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 2018

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Conf book cover

F.M.Alexander – the orator with no voice

Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955) was an Australian actor who had made a good living from poetry recitals in the 1890s until he encountered a career-threatening problem: he developed breathing problems and chronic laryngitis, and lost his voice! He went from doctor to doctor, but none could find any physical cause nor any cure.

Since no-one seemed able to help him, he resolved to help himself. He studied anatomy books and surrounded himself with mirrors, carefully observing himself. He discovered that the way he had been been trained to carry his body and project his voice was the very cause of the problem. He was tensing his body as he prepared to speak, dropping his head backwards and pressing his neck into the spine. This constricted the air passages and inhibited his voice box. He noticed that others with voice and breathing problems often did the same.

Alexander was a man with little regard for others’ opinions unless supported by scientific evidence and proven by results. So he experimented on himself. He discovered that eliminating muscle tension in the neck prevents the head from compressing the spine, so the spine is free to lengthen. This frees the windpipe and allows the voice to function properly. Within weeks of starting to apply this to himself, the problems were gone and he was able to resume his profession.

Others began to seek his help, so he applied what he learned and developed a hands-on healing method that allowed all the body’s natural processes to work, thus stimulating its capacity for self-healing.

As his research progressed, he made further discoveries. He noticed that he mind could play tricks on him so he developed methods to increase mindfulness. In essence, the Alexander Technique, as it became known, focuses on attention, thoughts, posture and movement. It centres on:

  • Self-awareness: identifying harmful habits that restrict breathing or result in poor posture.
  • Inhibition: pausing for a moment before acting to interrupt and prevent destructive patterns.
  • Choice: knowing that we have the freedom to choose new responses (i.e. not to follow habitual, conditioned reactions).
  • Primary control (neck, head, spine): positioning the head, neck and spine so that the head is up and slightly forward, allowing the spine to lengthen, releasing tension from the neck and throat.
  • Directions: Oral suggestions, self-administered, which send conscious instructions to parts of the body which he had struggled to control before.
  • Using gravity as a healer; positioning and balancing the body so that gravity can do its work. One example is the semi-supine position: lying on your back with your knees in the air, head resting on several books, arms relaxed at the side. This releases muscle tension and brings the body back into alignment.
  • The whispered ‘ah’: To remove unnecessary effort from using the voice.

Alexander practitioners are known as teachers (not therapists). They explain and demonstrate the technique, and use hands-on methods to bring about change in their clients.

Alexander is best known for his work on movement and posture but he also believed that the mind and body were as one. When we take good care of the body, we fell better mentally, emotionally – and spiritually – too. Many physical problems are caused by our behaviour; people behave according to their way of thinking, so to cure some physical problems means changing our thinking. This is a conscious process which takes effort and determination.

The benefits of the Alexander Technique have been well documented especially for chronic back pain, but in the eyes of the medical establishment he remains a quack. Surgery, they say, backed by drugs, is quicker, cheaper and more permanent, and more in tune with our modern lifestyles. But at what cost? Those of us who believe in natural healing methods must not remain silent!

©David Lawrence Preston, 1.11.2018

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How Deep Relaxation Can Transform Your Life

There is a zone of relaxation where the mind is at its most powerful, intuitive and creative. This is the ‘Alpha State’, where the two halves of the brain are in balance. Being able to reach this restful, deeply relaxed state is a life enhancing skill, because the mind works best when you’re cool and calm. And it’s easily learned.

Deep relaxation is a state of calmness which allows the mind to idle and drift. It is a profound state of calmness in which all physical and mental tension is released.

Regular deep relaxation brings about a state of enhanced harmony in your daily life. Benefits include:

Greater peace of mind and mental calm

Improved health, greater vitality

More economical and productive use of energy

Protection against stress and stress related disease

Enhanced intuitive and creative abilities

More rapid healing and pain relief

Improved digestion and lower blood pressure

More refreshing and satisfying sleep

Better concentration

Improved ability to handle important occasions

With daily practice, deep relaxation also improves relationships. It’s easier to get on with others when you are relaxed and it’s easier to get on with yourself too). It also enhances self-awareness and self-esteem.

Young children have no problem relaxing, but it seems that most of us lose this ability as we mature. We become more tense, and tension may disrupt our social and working lives, sexual activity, digestion, sleep and brain-body coordination. It can also result in a variety of fears and phobias.

Deep relaxation can help relieve all these problems. Many people with chronic health problems benefit enormously. For instance, Alain suffered from severe stomach cramps and a nauseous feeling for years. Doctors had no idea what was causing it, but within two weeks of learning and practising deep relaxation twice-daily the pains were much reduced, and after six weeks, they’d gone altogether.

Calm

Practical Ways To Relax

Try this:

Sit up straight in a chair with your back and neck supported. Place both feet on the floor, legs uncrossed, hands resting comfortably in your lap. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Hold it for a moment and let it out slowly.

Take another deep breath. Hold it for a few moments, then slowly exhale. Allow yourself to be completely relaxed and comfortable.

Once more, take a deep breath. Hold it for a moment and slowly let it out. Relax.

Now simply sit in silence, breathing slowly, for five minutes without moving any part of your body. Concentrate on being quiet, still, peaceful and relaxed. Then open your eyes.

Always start by finding a time and place where you will not be disturbed. Don’t attempt it if you  need to pay attention to what you’re doing.

If you want to have music quietly in the background choose something slow and calming, such as gentle classical music or specially composed relaxation music. You’ll find it seems much louder once you’re relaxed.

A relaxation session comprises four stages – induction, deepening, autosuggestion/imagery, and termination. Don’t rush your relaxation sessions, and don’t worry about whether you are succeeding or not; this is counter-productive.

Induction

Start by picking a spot on a wall or ceiling and focusing your gaze on it. When your eyes start to tire, count five deep breaths backwards. When you get to one, your eyes will be closed.

Next, focus on your breathing: allow yourself to relax a little more on each out-breath. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to the breath.

Then select one of the following:

  • Sigh breath: take a very deep breath. Release it suddenly, sounding a prolonged ‘aaah’ as you do so. Allow a wave of relaxation to sweep down your body. This is excellent for relaxing very quickly.
  • Three deep breaths: take a very deep breath. Fill your chest and lungs completely (but not so as it becomes uncomfortable). Hold for a count of four, then slowly release. Do this three times. Think the word ‘calm’ or ‘relax’ as you exhale. Increase the count to six, eight or ten as you become more practised.
  • Imagine a cloud of peace and calmness filling your body as you breathe in. When you breathe out, imagine it taking with it all stress and tension. If you like, imagine the cloud having a soothing colour of your choice.

Deepening the relaxation

Next, take your attention to different parts of the body/groups of muscles in turn and consciously relax them. (This is called ‘progressive’ relaxation.)

Relax your toes and feet

Relax your calves and ankles

Relax your knees and thighs

Relax your buttocks

Relax your stomach muscles and solar plexus

Relax your back and spine

Relax your chest

Relax your neck and shoulders

Relax your upper arms

Relax your lower arms and wrists

Relax your hands and fingers

Relax your eyes and face

Now try one or two of the following techniques. Everyone has their own style of relaxation, so choose those which work best for you:

  • Rag doll: Imagine your body as a rag doll, limp and floppy, muscles soft, loose and without tension.
  • Count down: Slowly count down from ten or twenty to one on each out breath. Imagine yourself descending a flight of steps, a lift or escalator one level at a time, letting go a little more with each step or level.
  • Affirmation: When you are deeply relaxed, slowly repeat the following affirmation:  ‘I relax easily, quickly and deeply. Each time I relax, I go deeper and deeper. I am at peace.’
  • Relaxing place: imagine that you are somewhere tranquil such as a garden, beach or special sanctuary. Images and sounds of water can be very soothing. So can imagining the feeling on the warm sun on your face and body.

Once relaxed, create visual images, sounds and feelings and repeat the affirmations that will help you to get what you want from the session.

Triggers

You can easily create a trigger or ‘anchor’ to help you to relax at will. This is how:

When in deep state, gently put the thumb and fingers of your dominant hand together and whisper the word ‘Alpha’. Then silently affirm, ’Whenever I put my thumb and fingers together and say ‘Alpha’, I will instantly and easily relax deeply.’

Within a few days, with practice, whenever you close your eyes, put your thumb and fingers together and whisper ‘Alpha’, you will feel yourself easily drifting down into relaxation.

My mentor became so proficient at this he was able to go deep into Alpha in seconds while leaning on a traffic barrier in London’s Piccadilly Circus. If it can work there, it can work anywhere!

Termination

To finish, first affirm that beneficial changes have taken place in the unconscious as a result of the session and affirm that you are using your deepest inner resources to bring about the changes in thinking, attitudes and behaviour that you desire.

Then, if you are relaxing during the day, count slowly from one to five and open your eyes. Wiggle your hands, shrug your shoulders and move your feet. Tell yourself you’re fully alert, and when you are ready, resume your normal activities.

Alternatively, if it’s last thing at night and you wish to go to sleep, simply drift off (telling yourself that you will wake refreshed and re-energised in the morning).

Conclusion

Relaxation has many proven benefits – studies carried out by leading doctors and psychologists show that this is not in doubt. It is a skill easily acquired through practice. If you find it hard to begin with, don’t worry, just persist. Most of the early problems you encounter will soon disappear, and you’ll quickly find you feel better, happier, more content and more peaceful.

©David Lawrence Preston, 23.10.2018

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Encouraging News on Placebos

In one of the most encouraging articles I’ve read for a long time[1], 97% of a sample of 783 UK family doctors reported in a study carried out by the Universities of Oxford and Southampton that they had given a placebo to at least one of their patients. Some said they do so on a regular basis. Half had told their patients that the remedies had helped other patients, without specifically telling them they were prescribing a placebo.

This is a huge step forward towards general recognition of the role of the mind in health, ill-health and healing, and acceptance of the potential of informational remedies. Apparently even the UK Royal College of General Practitioners now acknowledges that there is a place for placebos in medicine.

A co-author of the study, Dr Jeremy Howick, was quoted as saying, ‘This is not about doctors deceiving patients,’ (which is how Big Pharma has often characterised the use of placebos) but that ‘doctors clearly believe that placebos can help patients’.

Evenso, the BBC report still refers to ‘sham’ treatments’ and ‘unproven treatments’ as if the author, Michelle Roberts, is still not really convinced.  She writes that three quarters of doctors claimed to offer ‘unproven treatments’ such as complementary therapies on a daily or weekly basis, and even refers to ‘fake’ acupuncture (which has been used successfully for over five thousand years)  in such terms. She misses the point – in most cases it is not the medicine that brings about healing, but the patient’s own healing abilities restoring equilibrium and removing the resistance to full health.

Research shows that placebos are most effective a relieving subjective conditions such as pain, and their effect is based on cultivating the patient’s expectations of a cure. Hence the size, colour and packaging of placebos all play a role, as does the presentation and manner of the practitioner who prescribes them.

There are still those who consider the use of placebos as ‘fooling’ patients by giving them ‘useless’ pills and potions, even if they help bring about a cure. Some consider them dangerous because they deny the patient ‘effective’ treatment (by which they mean bio-chemical intervention), and others that they damage to doctor-patient relationship. Others claim that some ‘placebo’ treatments, such as prescribing vitamin supplements, are not inert, in that taking too much of some vitamins is harmful.

Then there are those who dismiss phenomena such as ‘spontaneous remission’ as pure chance and unworthy of investigation when in fact they could throw invaluable light on the healing process.

But in the longer term there is much more at stake here than whether placebos are unethical or ineffective, or whether this person or that person gets better and stays well. Our view of mind-body and informational medicine is related to our understanding of what human beings actually are and how we function. This is the greater prize.

©David Lawrence Preston, 18.10.2018

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[1] BBC website 21st March 2013, also widely reported on radio and TV.

Healing power is in the mind of the patient – the work of Dr P.P. Quimby

I’ve been to many healers in my time, and it seems to me that the techniques they employ say a great deal about the practitioner’s beliefs about what constitutes a human being. This – explicitly or implicitly – is what guides their healing methods. If you think a human body is simply a physical, mechanical thing, as many doctors used to do, you treat it accordingly. If you see it as intelligent, responsive, self-regulating, then your approach is entirely different.

Dr Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, a real groundbreaker of healing, was in no doubt. He saw humans as mind, body and spirit, and showed that our healing power comes primarily from within. Nowadays, few people have heard of him and yet his influence is reflected in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and well known writers such as Louise Hay, Dr Wayne Dyer, Dr Bernie Segal, Byron Katie, and many others.

Quimby

Quimby was born on February 16, 1802. A clock-maker by trade, he lived most of his life in Belfast, Maine. New England. Although others called him ‘Doctor’ he had little formal education and no medical training, but he had a practical, enquiring mind and unparalleled determination.

As a young man, he contracted tuberculosis. Doctors couldn’t help, so he decided to help himself. Someone suggested horse-riding as the fresh air would do him good, but he was too weak to ride, so he borrowed a horse and cart. One day the horse refused to pull the cart up a hill, so Quimby got down and walked with the horse. When they got to the top, it suddenly started trotting. As Quimby couldn’t get back on the cart he ran down the hill with the horse, which, strictly speaking, he shouldn’t have been able to due to his illness.

Back home, he realised he was breathing freely. The pain had gone (it never returned) – he had experienced a spontaneous healing. In that moment he dedicated himself to understanding what brought this about. He reasoned that there must be something within that can make us well, of which we’re not normally aware.

First he studied the work of the hypnotist Anton Mesmer, who had quite a reputation in Europe. By 1840, Quimby was an expert hypnotist. He worked with a young man called Lucius who, under hypnosis, could apparently diagnose patients’ illnesses and suggest a cure. Later, Quimby realized that Lucius was tuning in to what the patient believed he had, not what he actually had.  So after his early experiments, he gave up hypnotism and instead focussed on curing disease through the mind, getting his patients to see causes for themselves.His approach was evidence-based and rigorously scientific. He trusted no opinions, only knowledge.

He studied the healing methods described in the New Testament. Quimby did not regard the gospel healings as miracles, but as scientific applications of truth as represented by Universal Law.

Ironically he was vehemently anti-religion. He believed that the Church had irresponsibly abandoned any interest in healing and that his purpose was to resurrect it. He studied the New Testament because he wanted to understand and correct the negative thinking of his patients – especially those who believed that ill health was a punishment for some unpardonable sin.

His healing methods were highly unusual. He sat with his patients until he had a mental impression of the problem and its cause. Often he felt every symptom of the disease in his own body. Then he silently challenged the cause in his own mind, addressing his comments to the spirit within which, he argued, could never be sick. Sometimes barely a word was spoken as Quimby’s thoughts somehow impacted on the patient.

He described the cause of disease in his own words:

‘The trouble is in the mind, for the body is only the house for the mind to dwell in. if your mind has been deceived by some invisible enemy into a belief, you have put it into the form of a disease, with or without your knowledge. By my theory or truth I come in contact with your enemy and restore you to health and happiness.

‘This I do partly mentally and partly by talking till I correct the wrong impressions and establish the truth, and the truth is the cure. . . . A sick man is like a criminal cast into prison for disobeying some law that man has set up. I plead his case, and if I get the verdict, the criminal is set at liberty. If I fail, I lose the case. His own judgment is his judge, his feelings are his evidence. If my explanation is satisfactory to the judge, you will give me the verdict. This ends the trial, and the patient is released.’

His son George (who acted as his secretary) described his father’s method of cure as follows (I paraphrase slightly):

‘A patient comes to see Dr Quimby. He renders himself absent to everything but the impression of the person’s feelings. These are quickly imprinted on him. This mental picture contains the disease as it appears to the patient. Being confident that it is the shadow of a false idea, he is not afraid of it. Then his feelings in regard to health and strength are imprinted on the receptive plate of the patient. The patient sees the disease in a new light, gains confidence. This change is imprinted on the doctor again and he sees the change and continues. The shadow grows dim and finally disappears, the light takes its place, and there is nothing left of the disease.’

Quimby knew that one mind can influence another, and believed that most disease is due to false reasoning. To remove disease permanently, it is necessary to know the error in thinking which caused it. ‘The explanation,’ he said, ‘is the cure’.  Half a century before Freud, he explained that many of the harmful beliefs are located in the unconscious mind and must be brought into consciousness before they can be dealt with.

Quimby healed thousands of people of a wide range of illnesses, most of whom had not responded to conventional treatment. In the end, it was his very success that killed him. He died of over-work and self-neglect on January 16, 1866, having seen over 10,000 patients in his last seven years.

PPQ

Quimby left behind detailed journals, and some of his clients devoted their lives to spreading awareness of his methods. Rev Warren Felt Evans wrote the definitive contemporary account in his book, ‘The Mental Cure’ (1869), but it was not until 1989 that Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: The Complete Writings were published, edited by Dr Ervin Seale, who devoted most of his working life to the task.

Nowadays we have scientific proof that our thoughts and emotions affect our physical health. Placebos illustrate the effectiveness of suggestion as a powerful healer and CBT and NLP have proved their worth in many situations. Perhaps it is also time for Quimby to receive his due credit. If his ideas and methods were investigated anew, who knows how many people could benefit?

© Feeling Good All The Time, 8.10.2018

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How to improve your memory

A good memory is a huge asset in every area of life, but how many people struggle to remember simple everyday things?

Psychologists universally agree that there’s a great deal we can do to improve. They  distinguish between short- and long-term memory. Short-term is the stuff of day to day living and long-term, well, longer. The techniques taught in memory books and courses deal mainly with the short term memory.

Improving short-term memory

Here are some hints:

  • Write things down. Make shopping lists, action plans, ‘to do’ lists. Keep a notepad with you – paper or electronic and use it.
  • Pay attention. You are more likely to remember something you pay attention to in the first place.
  • Take an interest – we find it easier to remember things which interest us. E.g. sports fans can reel off facts and figures from fixtures long ago.
  • Practise – like most skills, the more you practise, the better you get. And practising a little every day is more effective than a frantic session once a fortnight.
  • Repetition – the continual repetition of information, silently or aloud, ingrains it in the memory. Memory responds to repetition – this is a core principle.
  • Use rhymes – for example, ‘In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.’
  • Mnemonics involve using words and letters to remember things; a popular one is ‘ROYGBIV’ to recall the colours of the rainbow.
  • Weave the items you wish to remember into a story – the more outrageous the better. E.g. if you want to remember items on a shopping list your story might go: ‘One day, when spreading butter over the teacakes, an argument broke out. The man said he’d like some eggs. His wife asked him if he’d prefer bread instead. He said ‘no’, pulled out a tube of toothpaste and hit her over the head with it. She responded by hitting him with a bottle of shampoo….’
  • Use associations. They make use of the way the brain connects and stores information. E.g. the ‘place method’ – physically leaving objects in a special place which acts as a reminder; or ‘face name’ associations – changing a person’s name into something meaningful and matching it with something unusual about them, such as Mr Rose who has a big nose.
  • Another method is to mentally retrace a series of events to jog the memory, e.g. to remember where you left something or recall at what stage a significant incident happened.
  • Memory pegs are a popular way of remembering lists. You can invent memory pegs which mean something special for you. For example:

One is the sun

Two is a shoe

Three is a key

Four is a door

Five is a hive

Six is sticks

Seven is heaven

Eight is a gate

Nine is a sign

Ten is a pen

When you want to remember a list, such a shopping list of butter, eggs, bread, toothpaste and shampoo, ‘hang’ the items you want to remember on the pegs. Each item goes with one peg, and you imagine the two together. So, make an image of butter melting in the sun; eggs cracked over a shoe; bread on a table next to a key; a tube of toothpaste splattered on a door; shampoo spilt over a hive, etc.

When you want to recall the items, simply go through the peg words and note what object you placed on each peg. The pegs trigger your memory, and with practice you can easily remember up to two dozen items or more.

  • Use an affirmation. E.g. If you’re having difficulty recalling something, use an affirmation such as: ‘Right now, I can’t recall… but soon I will. My unconscious is helping me and it will come to me shortly’.
  • Triggers: Close your eyes, take a deep breath and relax. Then put the thumb and fingers of your dominant hand together and whisper ‘Alpha’ under your breath (this acts as a ‘trigger’). Ask for the information you require. The answer may pop into your head immediately or come to you later. Your intuition will lead to where you left the object.
  • The ‘place’ method: e.g. imagine a set of the objects you want to remember placed in different locations around the house. Imagine them in different places as you move through each room in a logical order. With practice you’ll find it easy to recall the object/s you ‘left’ in each place.

Improving Your Long Term Memory

These techniques can be useful when you need to remember blocks of information for longer than, say, a week or two, for example when studying for an exam.

  1. Be systematic

Commit the information you wish to store and retrieve to memory systematically. This makes it easier to harmonise with material already stored. Sometimes recalling a fragment of information makes the rest more accessible.

  1. Think about it

Think about what you want to remember and its application to experiences you’re having: it makes a big difference.

  1. Focus

Next time you want to memorise something, imagine that your memory is a clean sheet of blotting paper. Focus intently, imagining the material being absorbed in the same way you would press the blotting paper over the page.

  1. Autosuggestion

Use autosuggestion to programme the memory ‘computer’ housed in your unconscious. Relax into the dreamy Alpha State (the ‘CALM’ setting on the AcuPearls can help with this), then affirm, with feeling:

‘I have perfect memory and concentration. Therefore I can recall instantly and easily whatever I hear, read or study. Because I have perfect memory, I can remember at will whatever I require. I am at one with the source of all knowledge.’

Do this regularly and you will soon notice an improvement. You may find it helps to record the message onto an audio device.

  1. Affirmations and Creative Imagery

You can use affirmations and Creative Imagery to programme your memory. E.g. if you want to remember the contents of a book or lecture, use the thumb and fingers trigger and affirm:

‘I will remember the information I am about to study easily. My mind is clear, my memory is perfect. It is the nature of my mind to remember effortlessly.’

When you have finished, affirm:

‘The information I have just studied will flow quickly and easily. My mind is clear, my memory is perfect. It is the nature of my mind to remember effortlessly.’

Accelerated Learning

Physical and mental relaxation assists learning by reducing anxiety. You can deliberately store information for straightforward retrieval using deep relaxation into Alpha State. This is the basis, for example, of the accelerated language learning method pioneered by Michel Thomas in the 1980s – he demonstrated that students could go from zero to proficiency in a few months.

Summary

Memory training appears daunting at first, but with perseverance the result can be impressive and have a knock on effect on all areas of life.

©David Lawrence Preston, 2.10.2018

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Children in Eastern Europe have long been using accelerated learning techniques to learn foreign languages, sometimes reaching fluency in just a few months. The language teacher, Michel Thomas, used these techniques to help celebrity students from nil to fluency in a few months.

 

Accelerated learning removes the main blockage to learning – stress. Pupils relax, close their eyes and drift off while the teacher speaks the information at a slow pace and prescribed pitch and rhythm. In some cases, they learn more than a hundred times faster than before.

 

You can do the same using the thumb and fingers trigger, which is particularly useful if you have reasons for wanting to absorb a large amount of information (e.g. an exam, or if you’re an actor/actress remembering your lines).

 

Relax. Bring the thumb and fingers together (this sends a signal to the brain to prepare for stronger programming). Affirm that you will easily remember everything you are about to see or hear. Add, ‘Nothing will distract me. I have superior concentration and understanding’.

 

Read the material (or record it beforehand) at a slow and steady pace. You will absorb and retain the information more readily than in the waking state.

 

When you’ve finished reading, again use the trigger to relax and affirm ‘I can recall the material I’ve just read/heard about… (mention the subject) at any time using the thumb and fingers trigger’.

 

When you need to recall the information, use the thumb and fingers trigger and affirm that the material will rapidly return to consciousness.

 

Steve, a young student, was worried about his forthcoming exams. He’d done very little work, but with less than a month to go, was willing to do whatever he could to get good grades. He prepared a précis of the information, recorded it onto tape and listened to it daily, morning and night. He used the memory affirmation and the thumb and fingers trigger. During the exams, he used quick relaxation techniques and deep breathing to stay calm.

 

Steve achieved the right grades. He felt he’d cheated the system, but he hadn’t. He’d just found a way to make his brain work better, and surely that’s what it’s all about.

 

These techniques work. They’re tried and tested and are frequently taught in memory training courses. But they have to be practised regularly for maximum results.

You won’t get far without self-belief. It’s one of the biggest factors in success, yet many people, even the most able, lack it.

To strengthen your belief in yourself:

  1. Make your short-term goals challenging but within reach. Your unconscious finds it hard to accept a huge leap but can adapt to a series of small steps. For instance, if you want to be a radio presenter, don’t expect an early call from a national station – you’ll only be discouraged when it doesn’t happen. Instead, get some experience on hospital radio, then work your way up to local radio, then regional stations.
  2. Reflect on your successes. A belief can be formed instantly, after one event, so long as you think about it and dwell on it. Whenever you succeed at something or exceed your expectations, reflect on it. Keep a list of the goals you’ve already achieved and read it through frequently. Your confidence will grow with every positive step, however small.

 

 

  • Read and repeat your written goals to yourself every day. Keep your mind on your goals, keep going and be alert to every opportunity.

Think success. When you face a difficult situation, think, ‘I can do it, I’m equal to the task’. Constantly remind yourself that you’re better than you used to think you were.

 

  • Write down affirmations that support your new beliefs. Copy them out frequently. Read them morning and night. Commit them to memory and repeat them silently as often as you wish.

 

  • Learn from others in every possible way. Associate with people who support your goals and share your philosophy. Read self-development books. Listen to motivational audio materials. Attend workshops and lectures given by inspirational people.

 

  • Persist, persists, persist. Don’t let anyone steal your dream or alter your new reality.

 

 

 

Exercise 5.9

 

Think of additional things you can do to build beliefs.

Write them down.

And do them.

 

 

 

AcuPearl reharmonises

AcuPearl is designed to reharmonise the vibrational interconnections of the body, encouraging it to return to natural rhythms, cycles and shapes associated with optimum health and vitality. It interacts with the body’s connective tissue matrix and the human biofield though its magnetic field patterns.

 

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For further information, www.acupearl.co.uk.

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Taking Charge of Your Life

Before we can take charge of our lives, we must acknowledge some basic truths:

Everything we are is the result of ‘causes’ laid down in the past; what we will become will result from what we are now and from ‘causes’ still to be laid down. This is the universal Law of Cause and Effect.

These ‘causes’ are primarily our own thoughts, imaginings, words and actions. If we ‘sow’ the right ‘seeds’ from now on, we change, and consequently our life circumstances change too, irrespective of what has gone before.

We are in charge of what we think, believe, imagine, feel, say and do. Once we acknowledge this, we know we always have choices, and we can use this power once we know how to use certain life transforming tools and techniques.

  •  It’s not what happens out there in the world that shapes our lives, but what happens in here between our ears! This is not what most of us were taught as children, but it’s true. We cannot alter our genetic make up, nor can we go back and change out early programming and conditioning. But for most of us of sound mind, our thinking is within our control.

We can choose what we think about.
We can choose where we allow our imagination to go.
We can choose what we think, say and do in response to what happens around us.

In other words, we can consciously lay down the ‘causes’ that create our future lives and then watch and enjoy the results unfold. Indeed, we are doing it all the time whether we are aware of it or not. So learn to become aware of what you think, say and do in every moment and how it impacts on your circumstances.

Since your thoughts are the prime causes, take responsibility for your thoughts, and you literally take charge of your life.

Once you know this, the door to the best possible future is wide open. Only an idiot believes that thinking, feeling and doing what you’ve always done will bring different results!

That’s why Dr Napolean Hill, author of ‘Think and Grow Rich’, the most influential book on happiness and success ever written, said:

‘The vast majority of people are born, grow up, struggle, and go through life in misery and failure, not recognising that it would be just as easy to switch over and get out of life exactly what they want, not recognising that the mind attracts the thing it dwells upon.’

From the time you reach adulthood, nobody else can make your life happen for you. Blaming circumstances (however unfortunate) and other people (however unpleasant) won’t change anything; in fact, it makes things worse – you become a victim.

See whatever happens in your life as the world’s response to your state of mind

Here’s an illuminating exercise. Sit comfortably. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Relax your body and let go of all tension. In this relaxed state, reflect on the events and circumstances of your life. Don’t judge. Don’t blame. Just reflect on how your thoughts, beliefs, imaginings and actions have created your life and how past decisions have affected you.

As I said,you’ll find this very illuminating!

Copyright David Lawrence Preston 22.9.2018

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The Law of Cause and Effect

The Law of Cause and Effect (sometimes known as Karma) is fundamental to the universe. It is probably most closely associated with the physical sciences, for example, when a snooker cue strikes a ball, the ball moves, and when one ball hits another, the impact made by the first causes the second to move. Their speed and direction can be predicted accurately by applying precise scientific measurements and principles.

In the world of human behaviour, causes and effects are not so easily measured and may not be predictable, but are no less real. With very few exceptions (e.g. purely reflex reactions), every action you ever took and every word you ever spoke began as a thought. Your present has been shaped by your actions, which were governed by your past thoughts and emotions; and your future will be shaped by the actions you take from now on, which will be shaped by your future thoughts and emotions.

The Law of Cause and Effect describes the relationship between what we think, feel and do and what we get out of life. It states that everything we are and everything we have has been shaped by ‘causes’ laid down in the past.

Every action has a cause.

Every cause produces an effect.

Thoughts are prime causes.

Speech, emotions and actions (and their results) are their effects.

Therefore constructive thoughts lead to positive emotions and constructive actions.

Negative thoughts lead to damaging emotions and destructive actions.

Therefore we constantly contribute to our circumstances – both present and future – by the way we think. And when we decide to change our way of thinking – including our beliefs, attitudes and prejudices – and sow different ‘seeds’, we change; and when we change, our circumstances change too, irrespective of what has gone before. The world responds to what we think, believe, imagine, feel, say and do.

Some consider this a frightening prospect, because it means taking responsibility for ourselves, but it’s actually one of the most hopeful things about being alive – the fact that we can turn our lives around by choosing to think differently. Only you decide what to think – if you don’t choose your thoughts, who does?

Some would say there’s little we can do, because our futures are laid out in our genes or by fate – but our genes only account for about a small part of our psychological make up. Others argue that we are merely the product of our programming and conditioning and we can do nothing to change this – but these are learned, and anything that has been learned can be reappraised, un-learned and re-learned.

The only question is – how?

It’s not as hard as you may think!

©David Lawrence Preston 28.2.2016

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