All You Need To Know About Affirmations

Positive Thinking and Affirmations are quite popular off late, but there is very little statistical information in the public domain as to how effective they have been.  Stay in touch with this blog for a series of articles on affirmations and how and why they dont work for a larger number of people. 

If you take the time to browse what several psychologists have to say including various organizations and associations, right uptil what are known as Third Wave Psychologists, you will find that are unanimous in the conclusion that random affirmations do not always work for you.  Self-esteeem plays a very important role and whereas positive affirmations can benefit those with high self-esteem, it could even be counter productive in case of people with low self-esteem. 

Ideally, a coach or therapist would focus on acceptance and commitment clarifying your values and committing your behavior to them. At a time when more and more people are looking for answers outside the traditional medical model, there is no doubt that there is an overdose of information that is available to the people at large and most of it is superficial.  Third Wave Psychologists agree that affirmations work best when they are congruent and concomitant with other interventions like Life Coaching, Hypnosis, NLP, etc., which help bring about an alignment of behavior and values.  Ancient Indian and Buddhist approaches are validated now by reinforcing the concept of acceptance of negative thoughts and emotions which are born out of past and present actions and behavior before attempting to override them. 

Whatever you resist, persists – Carl Jung
Whatever you fight, strengthens – Eckhart Tolle
The first step to change, is awareness.  The second is acceptance – Nathaniel Branden

The reason for writing all of the above is to ensure that readers are not misled into believing that random positive thinking will create miraculous results.  Most people would have tried it and quite often given up.  It is abundantly clear that awareness, mindfulness and acceptance play a significant role before affirmations can create transformation. 

At the same time, I must also add that a remarkable study conducted in 2002 found that 80% of the people tested who took the six most popular antidepressants of the 1990's got the same results when they took a sugar pill placebo. 80%!

Your subconscious mind is incredibly powerful! Far more than you can imagine it to be.  Awareness, mindfulness, acceptance and effective affirmations are possible only when you are able to connect with your subconscious mind.  Thus I go around imparting the Nirmiti Nidra technique to people across diverse sections of the society.  The program is offered free to all schools and institutes so that the youth can derive an early advantage.  In the workshop, participants are also taught to formulate affirmations for themselves.  It is extremely important that affirmations are formulated by you personally, because the same words can mean different things to different people.  The 12 laws of the subconscious mind are also explained to the participants with examples. 

Mere thought conditioning will not suffice, behavioural conditioning is equally important. You can read more about this here, the article also briefly touches upon why affirmations fail.  Stay tuned to this blog or our facebook page so you do not miss out on future posts. Over the next few weeks, a series of articles will provide you with positive affirmations that you can use for inspiration.  Do not use them as is, but use them as inspiration to formulate your own which are intricately aligned with your own values, objectives and goals after becoming aware of the challenges you face by way of negative thoughts and behaviour.   

An affirmation is a statement that is repeatedly uttered with confidence and assertion about a perceived truth to program your subconscious mind and bring about a significant change in your life. The ability to program your subconscious stems from the fact that your subconscious does not understand the difference between reality and imagination.  Reality is your perception of the world through the five senses.  Imagination is your visualization of the world through the same five senses. 

How and Why to Start Re-Programming Your Mind

Read the following four statements twice.

It was none other than Albert Einstein who said, “the intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift”.

The Buddha averred, “The mind is everything; what you think, you become”.

Dr. Bruce Harold Lipton, is an American developmental biologist best known for promoting the idea that genes and DNA can be manipulated by a person's beliefs.  In one amongst his many whitepapers, he states that “the subconscious mind operates at 40 million bits of data per second, whereas the conscious mind processes at only 40 bits per second”.

Neuroscientists now affirm that 95% of your life is run by your automatic programs and beliefs of your subconscious mind; and only 5% of it is governed by the conscious mind?

Now read the above four statements again.  How would you like to summarize them?  Simply put, it is the subconscious that is several times more powerful than your conscious mind and is running your life.  If you ever wished to program anything, it would be your subconscious mind.  Because if you can consciously program what your subconscious is doing, can you imagine what you can achieve? 

But that is easily said than done.  Firstly, you need to access your subconscious mind.  That is where awesome techniques like Nirmiti Nidra come in.  Secondly, you need to know how to program your subconscious mind.  For that read the 10 laws of your SM and this article tells you the rest of it.  Thirdly, you need to know the language that you need to adopt for your subconscious mind, follow this blog for more.

Your subconscious runs your life.  Everything you do and feel depends on how your subconscious mind has been programmed.  So far, it has been programmed by your parents, teachers, friends, peers and environment.  And it continues to feed and learn each day from your thoughts and beliefs.  Everything that the media imprints on it visually and otherwise, leaves an imprint on your subconscious mind.

Were you always told by your teacher and/or parent that you were no good at mathematics?  Or that you were shy, useless, wasteul, selfish, ignorant, lazy, etc.?  Well thats exactly what you are, if your subconscious has believed this to be true.  Have you told your children that they are a pain, that they don’t deserve anything, that they are untidy, disrespectful and commonplace?  Well, that’s probably what they will end up to be.  No matter how many courses or classes you attend, what you believe or are made to believe, is true for you.  Do you want to change it?  You first have to become aware of it.  Then you set about changing it.

This is where Nirmiti Nidra comes in. 

By accessing your subconscious, you become aware of what is happening inside you, you become aware of your thoughts and over time, you get better and better at watching your thoughts to understand how you are programmed. 

According to neuropsychologists, behavior is driven by your emotions and your thoughts whereas it is the work of your belief system, which determines the direction of your thoughts and emotions. To put it simply: Your belief system triggers what you do, how you feel and what you can achieve. But it can also sabotage you, like when you tell yourself over and over again that you cannot give a speech in front of 100 people, you just cannot.

Your subconscious mind creates everything in your life. It simply allows you to construct your beliefs according to your thoughts. So what you believe is what you get. Believe that you can succeed and you will. There are a number of techniques to reprogram your mind and achieve your aspirations, and Nirmiti Nidra remains the most easiest, effortless technique amongst them.

The 10 Irrefutable Laws of Your Subconscious Mind

The primary objective of your subconscious mind is survival and not happiness or enlightenment.

The subconscious mind never sleeps and is active throughout the day and even when you are asleep.  Your conscious mind needs rest, relaxation and rejuvenation but not your subconscious mind.

The subconscious mind controls activities like your breathing, heartbeat and digestion, amongst thousands of other activities you are not even consciously aware of.

The subconscious mind believes anything – it does not need any evidence.  Logic and rationality are for the conscious mind and for the conscious mind alone, the subconscious mind has no place for them. 

The subconscious mind cannot differentiate between reality and imagination.  This is one of the reasons that even if you imagine jumping off a cliff, you heart will beat faster on its own volition.  And imagination is unquestionably more powerful than will power – read an earlier post on this blog.

The concept of time is only for the conscious mind.  For the subconscious, everything happens only in the “now”, i.e. the present moment.  The past and future do not exist.

The subconscious mind is tremendously influenced by the law of repetition.

The subconscious mind only accepts ideas which are accompanied by feelings and associated with beliefs.

The subconscious focusses on what you focus on with your conscious mind and thoughts.

The subconscious mind does not understand negatives, but it understands the feeling of insufficiency.

What is Nirmiti Nidra vis-a-vis Hypnosis, NLP, Meditation

Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.  It would perhaps be controversial to say most people who meditate after learning a basket of techniques from various sources, have no idea why they indulge in it.  The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force and develop virtuousity.

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States in the 1970s. Its creators claim a connection between the neurological processes ("neuro"), language ("linguistic") and behavioral patterns learned through experience ("programming") and that these can be changed to achieve specific goals in life.  It was developed by studying hypnosis, gestalt and allied psychotherapy methods but of late, the balance of scientific evidence reveals NLP to be a largely discredited pseudoscience. Scientific reviews show it contains numerous factual errors, and fails to produce the results asserted by Bandler & Grinder.  In my opinion, the reason why NLP fails (although many people will not admit it to be so) is only due to the fact that the subconscious mind has not been accessed appropriately.

Hypnotism is often stated to be an altered state of consciousness.  But with consciousness itself being difficult to define, an altered state of an undefined state is rendered even more difficult.  We can therefore say that Hypnosis is a state of mind or human consciousness which presupposes focussed attention and an enhanced capacity for suggestion.  It is an altered state where the level of awareness is very different from the normal conscious state.  Focus and concentration are increased manifold and peripheral awareness is minimised to such an extent that sources of distraction are blocked out.  It also makes the person high suggestible so he is more yielding than normal.  A hypnotist communicates and interacts with the subconscious mind. 

Self-hypnosis can thus be defined as a self-induced state of mind resulting in a heightened state of focused concentration and rendering yourself more yielding to suggestions by programming your subconscious mind. It is used to change your thinking, alter your habits, and take control of the person you are—along with relaxation and destressing from everyday life. It's similar to meditation and yet is definitely more effective when you have specific objectives and goals to attain.  It is incredibly empowering!

Nirmiti Nidra uses techniques from medtitation, NLP and hypnosis to easily and effortlessly empower you to program your own mind.  It is not a religion, cult or lifestyle.  It does not use any chants, hymns or prayers.  Nor does it rely on breathing or any complicated techniques that one needs to practise for weeks or months.  In one single day, you are FULLY EMPOWERED to access your subconscious mind, anytime, anywhere.  Once you have learnt the technique, you of course need to use it each day to ensure you create the relevant neural pathways in your mind. 

Nirmiti Nidra is not brain washing, sleep, unconsciousness, mystical state or mind control.  It is a technique to enable you to be more aware, in control if yourself, in a natural blissful state, where you are connected with and communicate with your subconscious mind.  Remember, your subconscious is 30,000 times more powerful than your conscious mind.  It has nothing to do with will power.  Will power is petty compared to the power of your subconscious mind.  Nirmiti Nidra enables you to quickly and comfortably access your higher consciousness and at the same time to disconnect and come out of the state whenever you wish to.

Nirmiti Nidra can be used to rectify physical, emotional, mental, and behavioral dysfunctions. It can enable you to move in and out of various states of consciousness, enable you to guide awareness, enable you to experience mindfulness, and also enable you to enhance or diminish certain patterns of thinking, feeling, behaving, believing, or relating. When used optimally, it can facilitate healing and wholeness at every level of system.

Nirmiti Nidra can be used to modify behaviour, emotions and/or attitudes. You can use it to help deal with the problems of everyday living, to boost confidence and to develop new skills. A phenomenal stress and anxiety reliever, it can also be used to help alter habits, to program your mind with positive thoughts, to achieve your goals and desires, to heal minor health issues, to accelerate spiritual progress, to solve problems and enhance decision making abilities.

The foundation course will empower you to do so much more with your mind.  Advanced levels will empower you with so much more physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually that you will be stupendously surprised to learn of possibilities that you didn’t know existed.  As long as your desires to become who you want to be dovetail with the purpose of your soul’s journey to earth on who you are meant to be, a world of infinite possibilities are at your disposal..... just by establishing a connect with your subconscious mind.

Overcoming Depression : Placing the Horse Before the Cart

There are two ways you will react to this article – either you will be taken aback or you will feel elated. 

”Mood” is defined as a temporary state of mind or feeling.  Depression is typically a mood when it is temporary.  The word is used all too easily and frequently these days, to the extent that even when a person is feeling bad or sad about something, he says he is depressed.  It is a state of mind that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior and sense of well being.  It is characterized by loss of interest in day to day activities, inability to concentrate, problems with recall and making decisions.  The way he feels could be sad, anxious, empty, helpless, useless, worthless, restless or hopeless.  There could be a loss of appetite or indulgence by over-eating.  Fatigue, insomnia, aches, pains, low energy, digestive and metabolic issues could also be present. 

When it manifests for a brief period  of time due to loss of a near or dear one, grief, dramatic change of environment, separattion, etc., it is general depression, where the person usually comes out of it.  However, MDD or Major Depressive Disorder also known as Clinical Depression occurs, it could very well be a psychiatric syndrome.  It is characterized by an all pervasive persistently low mood concomitant with low self-esteem, complete lack of interest in normally enjoyable activities and virtually no confidence or assertiveness in behavior.   

If you read about depression online, you will find that for almost half a century,  depression has been attributed to a chemical imbalance in the brain. This arises from the finding that mood-related chemicals such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine are low in the brain during major depressive episodes.  A new study by the Canadian-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health showed that in major depression MAO-A was significantly higher in every brain region. These brain chemicals (probably more than just two or three) in turn affect the messenger chemicals dirupting internal communication and affecting mood.  It has also been found that low moods result in sluggish production of new neurons, which in turn affects neural pathways. 

I wonder if we are not putting the cart before the horse.  Isn’t it a bit like saying that physical beings like us have created consciousness?  What is more probable is that consciousness is responsible for the fact that we exist as mind and body, not the other way around.  To explain this analogy, whereas there is no doubt that injecting or ingesting certain chemicals can alter our emotional state, to say that brain chemicals are responsible for our emotional state needs to be re-evaluated.  It is far more likely that our emotional state leads to the increase or decrease of certain brain chemicals, isn’t it? 

In other words, popular belief is that brain chemicals are the cause and depression is the effect.  Logically, shouldn’t it be the other way around that depression is the cause and brain chemicals are the effect?

Yoga looks at depression holistically by cconsidering the mind, body and energies at play.  It believes that where there is balance in the three, the being is blissful and in a state of bliss, depression cannot exist.   

Let us look at depression from another simplistic viewpoint.  A state of depressionn is triggered by something which happened which we did not want to happen or did not happen our way.  Alternatively, something we wish that happens did not happen or did not happen in the manner we expected it to happen.  In other words, something or some person or some event fell short of expectations.  It boils down to the fact that we are unable to accept and digest something.  When this non-acceptance is turned outward it is anger and when it turned at oneself it is depression.  I know this sounds very superficial for what is the subject matter of deep research, yet don’t you agree?

Let us summarize. Depression is not caused by chemicals in the brain, but rather causes chemicals in the brain. It is an imbalance in the mind-body-energy system caused by non-acceptance of something that happens.  Sympathy cannot help nor cure someone who feels helpless and powerless.  On the contrary, it could worsen the situation.  So what will help?

Love is the great miracle cure. Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.”― Louise Hay

Needless to add that if one were to go looking externally for love, once again it would lead to expectations, which in turn can lead to disappointments.  It is not about seeking love without – it is about seeking love within.  The greatest love is to learn to love, accept and approve of ourselves.  And this is in our hands and it can be done.  MDDs may require psychiatric help at the same time, but this is definitely something that needs to be pursued to ensure that the situation is resolved and balance is restored in mind-body-energy. 

Additional pills and chemicals will of course rectify the brain chemical imbalance and restore normalcy but will not cure or resolve the original problem.  Thus, the most important factor and most likely solution which one can implement for oneself is to learn to love, accept and approve of oneself fully and unconditionally.

The amazing and tireless Louise Hay states unequivocally that deeply loving and accepting yourself opens doors that you never thought possible.  In an article on her website, she expounds – ”I have found that there is only one thing that heals every problem, and that is: to love yourself. When people start to love themselves more each day, it’s amazing how their lives get better. They feel better. They get the jobs they want. They have the money they need. Their relationships either improve, or the negative ones dissolve and new ones begin.

Loving yourself is a wonderful adventure; it’s like learning to fly. Imagine if we all had the power to fly at will?”  

Unfortunately, just reading the article without implementing it will not get you the results.  And often, the biggest challenge that we face, especially in such situations is that we tend to resist doing just the thing that we need to do.  At such times, we have to look at practical techniques to bypass such resistance which is not in your best interests, Nirmiti Nidra is a handy tool to access the subconscious and overcome the barriers caused by internal resistance.

You have the power to heal your life, and you need to know that. We think so often that we are helpless, but we're not. We always have the power of our minds…Claim and consciously use your power.”  ― Louise L. Hay

In Just 8 weeks Meditation can GROW your Brain

Neuroscientist Sara Lazar's amazing brain scans show meditation can actually change the size of key regions of our brain, improving our memory and making us more empathetic, compassionate, and resilient under stress – read the article fully and then view the video.

Led by Dr. Lazar, a neurologist and instructor, a team of researchers at the Harvard Medical School, have discovered that just 8 weeks of meditation can fuel grey-matter in the hippocampus and promote brain ‘growth’. To be more specific, the regions in the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress showed measurable changes sparked by meditation.

Those who did not go take part in Dr. Lazar’s course experienced no such structural brain changes.

16 volunteers took part in Dr. Lazar’s mindfullness course with respect to the study, and MRI scans were taken 2 weeks prior to and after the study.  Incredibly, it was evident that after just 8 short weeks of practicing mindfulness meditation, Dr. Lazar’s volunteers showed thicker grey matter in several important areas of the brain, including the left hippocampus, a small horseshoe-shaped structure in the central brain involved in memory, learning and emotional regulation.

Additional parts of the brain positively affected by just eight weeks of meditation were posterior the cingulate cortex – also important for memory and emotions; the temporoparietal junction, involved in empathy creation; and the cerebellum, which helps to coordinate movement.

She said: “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day. This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.

Britta Hölzel, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany, said: “It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life. Other studies in different patient populations have shown that meditation can make significant improvements in a variety of symptoms, and we are now investigating the underlying mechanisms in the brain that facilitate this change.”

The meditation course seemed to cause the brain to form denser connections among important centers that regulate our behavior and help us to be ‘smart.’

This translates to all sorts of possible benefits – from handling stress better at work and in our lives, to conducting out responsibilities with more élan. Sure, you can cram for those finals, or beat your head against the wall trying to meet a deadline at work, but maybe some life-long meditative practices can help.

Her talk and pictures are highly motivating for those looking for an edge in their industry or who just need some extra oomph to get through their hectic lives.

You can see Dr. Lazar talk about her brain scans in a Ted Talks video here.

Modern Science Endorses That We Can Heal Ourselves

New age gurus suggest that we can heal ourselves by simply changing our minds, but is this concept grounded in cold, hard science? Lissa Rankin, MD explores the scientific literature, reviewing case studies of spontaneous remission, as well as placebo and nocebo effect data, to prove that our thoughts powerfully affect our physiology when we believe we can get well. 

How do such things happen physiologically? In her book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself, Lissa Rankin, MD, explains the science behind how a positive or negative thought or emotion in the mind translates into spontaneous repair in the body. As it turns out, the body has built in self-repair mechanisms that fix damaged proteins, repair DNA, correct hormonal imbalances, and gobble up cancer cells, infectious agents, and foreign bodies that our bodies are exposed to everyday. These mechanisms explain the spontaneous remissions that are reported in the medical literature from seemingly “incurable” diseases like Stage 4 cancer, HIV, hypothyroidism, diabetes, and even an untreated gunshot wound to the head. Yet patients often feel powerless to harness these natural self-repair mechanisms.

Not anymore. In this book, Dr. Rankin teaches a scientifically-founded six step process you can follow to optimize the body’s capacity to flip on its natural self-repair mechanisms when the body becomes ill. She also teaches the tools to implement the power of the mind as preventative medicine, to increase the chance that you will one day die of “old age,” rather than dying too young as the result of disabling of the body’s ability to repair itself.

But one extremely important point that you should make a note of is this - the body can only repair itself when the body is in a state of complete relaxation. With Nirmiti Nidra, you can quickly, easily, effortlessly slide into a state of deep relaxation – anytime, anyplace.   

When the mind+body is under a perceived threat, the sympathetic nervous system kicks in to stimulate the body and adopt a fight or flight response.  Whether the perceived threat is physical, emotional, chronic or acute, repetitive or one-time is immaterial.  Self-repair is shut down and priority is given to deal with the stress factor.  Considering that we are constantly in a state of stress – mild or severe – with little or no time for deep relaxation, the mind+body never gets an opportunity to repair itself. 

In Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself, Dr. Rankin shares not just the scientific proof that you can heal yourself, but also tips for using the power of the mind to optimize the body’s natural self-repair mechanisms, so disease prevention and spontaneous remissions aren’t just something that happens randomly, but something you might be able to experience for yourself.

See this video to learn more for yourself.  

Eckhart Tolle on Meditation to Rise Above Your Thoughts

Your mind is but an instrument, a tool.  You are not the body, you are not the mind.  You are beyond both.  Empirical research suggests that most of our thinking is repetitive and useless, and quite often negative.  If you take some time out to observe your mind, you will find this to be true.  And harmful for you.

Whenever you lack the choice to stop doing something, it is an addiction.  Compulsive thinking is an addiction.  Your thoughts control you – not the other way around.  It seems to be stronger than you, which just cannot be true.  We need to gain that strength to manage our thoughts and avoid compulsive thinking.  We derive our sense of self from the content and activity of our mind, which is why we are addicted to compulsive thinking. We innately believe that existence is characterized by thinking and that we would cease to exist if we stopped thinking.  You know this is not true.

It is quite obvious and you have probably read this a thousand times that the present moment holds the key to liberation. But how can you be in the present moment if you think your thoughts are you.  Especially when thinking is predominantly associated with either the past (pain) or the future (anxiety)?

Of course we have to use our mind to analyse, choose, discriminate, solve problems and make decisions.  Of course we wouldnt mind learning to think in a more focused manner without losing our mind.  The gift of thought is the most precious thing we have. But should they be random?  Shouldnt you think what you wish to think and not become what you think?

The other myth is that we believe consciousness is thought.  Thinking and consciousness are not synonymous. Thinking is only a small aspect of consciousness. Thought cannot exist without consciousness, but consciousness does not need thought.

The only way to rise above your thoughts is to meditate.  Do you know of any other way? 

Even the great scientists like Einstein have reported that their creative breakthroughs came at a time of mental quietude. The surprising result of a nation-wide inquiry among America’s most eminent mathematicians, including Einstein, to find out their working methods, was that thinking “plays only a subordinate part in the brief, decisive phase of the creative act itself.”

There is absolutely no doubt that there is an intelligence at work that is far greater than the mind. How can a single human cell measuring 1/1,000 of an inch across contain instructions within its DNA that would fill 1,000 books of 600 pages each? The more we learn about the workings of the body, the more we realize just how vast is the intelligence at work within it and how little we know. When the mind reconnects with that, it becomes a most wonderful tool. It then serves something greater than itself.

The only manner in which the mind can connect with that intelligence is through the subconscious.  The subconscious is 30,000 times more powerful than your conscious mind.  Nirmiti Nidra is an easy, effortless way to connect with your subconscious mind.  Thereafter, an entire world of opportunity opens up for you – not overnight – but over time.

Here is what Eckhart Tolle, the most spiritually influential person in the world has to say about meditation and connecting with your subconscious mind.   

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