“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draws it. Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.” - Buddha
Those who have participated in the 'Nirmiti Nidra' workshop are familiar with neuro-pathways. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) evidence suggesting that certain neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmation tasks (Cascio et al., 2016). You can peruse the research publication here and the full PDF here.
There is compelling research-based evidence that practicing self-affirmations (thought conditioning) creates/alters the neuro-pathways in our brain. Self-affirmations practiced as auto-suggestions are several times more powerful in bringing about desired results, although I could not find specific research which compares the impact of self-affirmations (beta state of mind) versus auto-suggestions (alpha state of mind).
Image Source: Pixabay
Neuro-pathways are formed by the repeated thoughts we have and by the habits (including learned skills) we have formed. The more often we think about (visualization) or hear about something (the reason for self-affirmations or auto-suggestions), it eventually manifests as a habit or an instinct, deeply held beliefs, which become a part of our identity and influences our current and future behavior.
In an effort to help those who suffer from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), researchers concentrated on validating this information using MRI technology. Three groups of individuals with OCD were included in the studies, which was spread over a month. Here is a brief note on the study and the outcome/observations:
The first group did nothing unusual or different.
The second group consumed drugs that are known to reverse the neurological damage that results in OCD.
The third group engaged in talk therapy with a focus on altering their attitudes and actions by repeating affirmations or constructive language.
Each participant's brain was subject to an MRI scan before and after the research. The results -
The first group's brain showed no obvious changes
The second group's behavior improved and developed new neuro-pathways
The third group saw the same improvement as the second group, and developed new neuro-pathways, without any medication.
The ramifications of this study emphasize the need to gain control of our thoughts and creating a more successful and fulfilling existence.
Here are two visual representations that are far more evocative than words. The first one below is how NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) depicts the process.
And this is how CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) depicts it (Source: Wiki)
The first step in embarking on Results-Based Thinking is to identify your limiting beliefs. Then, translate these limiting beliefs into positive self-affirmations (or auto-suggestions) if you have a technique to access the subconscious mind. Finally, get going with thought conditioning to harmonize behavior with results and breakthrough by combining behavioral conditioning with thought conditioning.
Affirmations do however fail sometimes, this post will tell you why.