How can we reprogram the subconscious mind? A Hindu Priest shares some great insights.

The subconscious mind is akin to that unseen portion of an iceberg which remains underwater. Some believe that up to 95% of our mental activity takes place in the subconscious, just below our conscious awareness. This ‘underwater’ portion of the mind is never inactive, though, as it continues to collect and process information even when we are asleep.

According to the Freudian model of the unconscious, the contents of the subregions of the mind are the primary guiding influence on a person’s behavior, habits and urges. And in his study of the psyche, revered psychoanalyst Carl Jung relates the importance of paying attention to what is going on in the lower parts of the mind, saying, “until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Freudian model of the subconscious mind

While this model may be debatable to some scientists, sages and those devoted to personal development have long known that these regions of the mind are programmable with conscious intention, a process which can be achieved with affirmation and mantra.

As a spiritual tool, monks of the eastern traditions have been using mantras since time immemorial, most recognizably along with prayer beads. The value of this type of meditation is well-understood by practitioners, although, difficult to quantify. It offers a simple but powerful means of creating the emergence of desired positive outcomes in personality, habits, beliefs and emotions.

“Mantra is really just a specialized grouping of sounds and vibrations which positively affect the mental and physiological planes. The effects of sound on the brain have been demonstrated in Electro Encephala Graph (EEG) charts as well as by documented physical changes (skin temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate among them). While we may consciously want to remove certain thought patterns, they can be difficult to dislodge because they are formed at subconscious levels. This is where mantra can be very effective.” ~Christina Sarich

Speaking on how this process works, Hindu priest and international speaker Dandapāni explains how mantras are similar to affirmations in how they work to reprogram the subconscious mind. In an interview with Brian Rose of London Real, Dandapāni answers the question of why the simple concentrated repetition of sound can so powerfully brings about positive changes in personal behavior.

“You can say they are prayer beads, but they’re actually more like affirmation or mantra beads. So, we use these to actually program our subconscious. So as we chant on each bead, we chant an affirmation. I am happy, or I’m confident. And we repeat the same chant over and over again, and there are 108 beads… one chant over and over again.”

There is more to it than just saying a phrase 108 times, however, and as he explains, three ingredients are necessary: “Concise choice of positive words, clear visualization, and a corresponding feeling.”

The process of visualization is extremely important in clarifying for the mind the precise object in focus. If you were to chant, ‘I love apples,’ the brain would become confused by the word apple, however, unless a very clear picture of the apple is presented along with the mantra.

Regarding a corresponding feeling, he explains how feeling is emotion and emotion is energy, quoting the late Nikola Tesla.

“He [Tesla] had this beautiful saying which kind of encapsulates Hindu philosophy really well. He said that, ‘to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.’ Everything is made up of energy that’s vibrating at its own frequency. What we believe is that if your subconscious is filled with patterns that are vibrating at a certain frequency… and if you can go into your subconscious and create a pattern, infuse it with energy that’s vibrating at a certain frequency, you can attract things of a similar nature to it.”

The combined effect of intentionally applying sound, visualization and emotion to create positive change can override the contents of the subconscious mind. He elaborates further in the video below:

 

Original source: Waking Times

About the author

Vic Bishop is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and OffgridOutpost.com Survival Tips blog. He is an observer of people, animals, nature, and he loves to ponder the connection and relationship between them all. A believer in always striving to becoming self-sufficient and free from the matrix, please track him down on Facebook.

*This article was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Vic Bishop and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement. Please contact WakingTimes@gmail.com for more info.

Neuroplasticity has changed the old scientific beliefs and revealed a significant truth about the human brain.

Norman Doidge, a psychiatrist at the University of Toronto and author of the book The Brain That Changes Itself, claims that the belief that the brain remains unchanged has become an embankment in medical research.

“The best neurologists believed that the brain is structured like a complex machine, that each part of it has a function relevant to a particular region. If then, you were born with a damaged area that caused learning difficulties, according to the prevailing theory, you could not do anything to improve the situation. If you were injured or had a stroke, again you could not do anything. The exercises were of no importance because they didn’t produce any results. Furthermore, scientists believed that human nature was as steady and unchanged as the brain from which it came from”

, explains in his book.

The Case of Siltz

Neuroplasticity, however, may not allow the existence of different areas of the brain that are constantly changing but recognizes that if some of them are destroyed, other areas may be trained to undertake their functions, at least in some measure.

The case of Sheryl Siltz demonstrates that plasticity of the brain can change a patient’s life. Her story begins in 1997 when at the age of 39, she undergoes routine surgery and gets a serious infection. To treat it, doctors gave her the antibiotic gentamicin, which in some cases destroys the cells of the inner ear and causes deafness. In her case, however, it destroyed the entire inner ear system that allows us to have a sense of balance. As proven by examinations, only 2% of the function was left.

Thus, the patient always felt that was going to fall down. Indeed, this was often the case. But even when she was lying on the ground, the feeling was not changing. Many times, she felt like a hatch had opened and she was falling into the abyss.

Her doctor invented a genius way to cure her. She wore her a strange helmet with motion sensors, which signaled a metal plate into her mouth. If she came forward, she was feeling a pinch on the edge of her tongue, and when she stepped sideways, a pinch on the side of her tongue.

Recovery of Senses

The first time the device operated, Siltz began to cry. But, she stopped stumbling, she could stand up and slowly her brain learned to change the sense of her tongue into a sense of balance. With the passage of time and after taking lessons, the patient needed less and less the helmet. Her doctor believes her brain has finally adapted to the infinite messages received from the inner ear and recruited other neurons to help regain a sense of balance.

There is Also the Dark Side…

Plasticity of the brain also has a particularly dark side. Dr. Doidge has healed many men who saw their relationships break because of their addiction to porn. These patients spent so many hours looking at porn photos on the Internet, and eventually could not get sex with their partners while some had strange sexual preferences. Doidge believes that in this case some neuroplastic mechanisms have come into operation and unrestricted exposure to pornographic material has changed the men’s brain. Eventually, most of them recovered after they had said goodbye to their computer, forever.

Some psychiatrists believe that cognitive psychotherapy, which helps us to see events in our lives from another perspective, is effective precisely because of the plasticity of the brain.

Related: In How Long Can We Form a New Habit?

In his book, Doidge uses neuroplasticity as a cure for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and permanent anxiety. People should force themselves to do something that pleases them once they feel stressed or worried. Doidge also points out that he is not opposed to medication, but he wonders whether it can be substituted by neuroplasticity. “We can change our brain by using just the senses, the imagination and the hypocrisy. It is an economical way that does not require technological means.”

This article was originally appeared on kathimerini.gr and translated by Visual Meditation.

Research has now demonstrated that meditation builds brain cells and increases gray matter in the brain.

Using magnetic imaging (MRI), Harvard researchers found that meditation produced physiological changes in the brain’s gray matter. Some areas in the brains of the study participants thickened after only eight weeks of mindfulness practice.

The research was published in 2011 and represented the first time that physical changes to the brain caused by meditation were documented. The research was conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital by researchers from Harvard University. The research was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the NIH. Research subjects spend eight weeks doing a mindfulness meditation program.

For an average of 27 minutes a day, the study participants listened to audio recordings of guided meditation during the eight-week trial. The group met weekly as well.

Magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRI) were taken of the participants’ brains two weeks before the trial started and at the end of the eight-week program. A control group also had brain imaging (MRI) but did not listen to the audio-recorded meditation guides.

The research findings

Study participants reported feeling less stressed after the eight-week period. MRI scans revealed decreased gray matter in the amygdalae and increased gray matter in the hippocampus.

The amygdalae are the parts of the brain that help the body deal with anxiety and stress and controls the “fight or flight” mechanism. The hippocampus, which showed an increase in gray-matter density, is the area of the brain that controls memory, learning, self-awareness, introspection and compassion.

Watch: Release Stress

Conclusion and implications

The study concluded that meditation builds brain cells. The shrinking of the amygdalae indicated a reduction in the body’s stress response, which was expressed as the feelings of relaxation and stress reduction that were reported by the study participants.

With the shrinking of the amygdalae, the pre-frontal cortex around them can then thicken. The pre-frontal cortex is the decision making part of the brain and is also in charge of concentration and awareness.

It has been concluded that meditation builds brain cells, increases gray matter and allows the brain to slow responses to stress, providing better concentration, learning and memory.

This article was originally published on Natural News.

There are some really good scientific reasons why should you spending time in nature.

With spring and beautiful weather finally here, we highly recommend spending some time outside.

Nature offers one of the most reliable boosts to your mental and physical well-being. Here are just a few potential benefits:

1. Improved short-term memory

In one study, University of Michigan students were given a brief memory test, then divided into two groups.

One group took a walk around an arboretum, and the other half took a walk down a city street. When the participants returned and did the test again, those who had walked among trees did almost 20% percent better than the first time. The ones who had taken in city sights instead did not consistently improve.

Another similar study on depressed individuals also found that walks in nature boosted working memory much more than walks in urban environments.

Sources: Psychological Science, 2008; Journal of Affective Disorders, 2013

2. Restored mental energy

You know that feeling where your brain seems to be sputtering to a halt? Researchers call that “mental fatigue.”

One thing that can help get your mind back into gear is exposing it to restorative environments, which, research has found, generally means the great outdoors. One study found that people’s mental energy bounced back even when they just looked at pictures of nature. (Pictures of city scenes had no such effect.)

Studies have also found that natural beauty can elicit feelings of awe, which is one of the surest ways to experience a mental boost.

Sources: Journal of Environmental Psychology, 1995; Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2005; Psychological Science, 2012

3. Stress relief

Tensed and stressed? Head for the trees. One study found that students sent into the forest for two nights had lower levels of cortisol — a hormone often used as a marker for stress — than those who spent that time in the city.

In another study, researchers found a decrease in both heart rate and levels of cortisol in subjects in the forest when compared to those in the city. “Stressful states can be relieved by forest therapy,” they concluded.

Among office workers, even the view of nature out a window is associated with lower stress and higher job satisfaction.

Sources: Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 2007; Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine, 2010; Japanese Journal of Hygiene, 2011; Biomedical and Environmental Sciences, 2012

4. Reduced inflammation

Inflammation is a natural process the body uses to respond to threats like damage (e.g., a stubbed toe) and pathogens (e.g., exposure to the flu).

But when inflammation goes into overdrive, it’s associated in varying degrees with a wide range of ills including autoimmune disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, depression, and cancer. Spending time in nature may be one way to help keep it in check.

In one study, students who spent time in the forest had lower levels of inflammation than those who spent time in the city. In another, elderly patients who had been sent on a weeklong trip into the forest showed reduced signs of inflammation as well as some indications that the woodsy jaunt had a positive effect on their hypertension.

Sources: Biomedical and Environmental Sciences, 2012; Journal of Cardiology, 2012

5. Better vision

At least in children, a fairly large body of research has found that outdoor activity may have a protective effect on the eyes, reducing the risk of developing nearsightedness (myopia).

“Increasing time spent outdoors may be a simple strategy by which to reduce the risk of developing myopia and its progression in children and adolescents,” a 2012 review of the research concluded.

An Australian study that followed almost 2,000 schoolchildren for two years found that more time spent outdoors was associated with a lower prevalence of myopia among 12-year-olds. The same association was not found for those who spent a lot of time playing sports indoors, suggesting the connection was about more than physical activity.

In Taiwan, researchers studied two nearby schools where myopia was equally common. They told one school to encourage outdoor activity during recess and monitored the other as a control. After one year, the rate of myopia in the control school was 17.65%; in the “play outside” school, it was just 8.41%.

Sources: Ophthalmology, 2008; Ophthalmology, 2012; Ophthalmology, 2013

6. Improved concentration

We know the natural environment is “restorative,” and one thing that a walk outside can restore is your waning attention.

In one early study, researchers worked to deplete participants’ ability to focus. Then some took a walk in nature, some took a walk through the city, and the rest just relaxed. When they returned, the nature group scored the best on a proofreading task.

Other studies have found similar results — even seeing a natural scene through a window can help.

The attentional effect of nature is so strong it might help kids with ADHD, who have been found to concentrate better after just 20 minutes in a park. “‘Doses of nature’ might serve as a safe, inexpensive, widely accessible new tool … for managing ADHD symptoms,” researchers wrote.

Sources: Environment & Behavior, 1991; Journal of Environmental Psychology, 1995 (2); Journal of Attention Disorders, 2008

7. Sharper thinking and creativity

“Imagine a therapy that had no known side effects, was readily available, and could improve your cognitive functioning at zero cost.” That’s the dramatic opening to a 2008 paper describing the promise of so-called “nature therapy” — or, as a non-academic might call it, “time outside.”

When college students were asked to repeat sequences of numbers back to the researchers, they were much more accurate after a walk in nature. This finding built on previous research that showed how nature can restore attention and memory.

Another study found that people immersed in nature for four days — significantly more time than a lunchtime walk in the park — boosted their performance on a creative problem-solving test by 50%.

While the research suggests the possibility of a positive relationship between creative thinking and the outdoors, it wasn’t enough to determine whether the effects were due to “increased exposure to nature, decreased exposure to technology, or other factors.”

Sources: Psychological Science, 2008; PLOS ONE, 2012

8. Possible anti-cancer effects

Research on this connection is still in its earliest phases, but preliminary studies have suggested that spending time in nature — in forests, in particular — may stimulate the production of anti-cancer proteins.

The boosted levels of these proteins may last up to seven days after a relaxing trip into the woods.

Studies in Japan have also found that areas with greater forest coverage have lower mortality rates from a wide variety of cancers, even after controlling for smoking habits and socioeconomic status. While there are too many confounding factors to come to a concrete conclusion about what this might mean, it’s a promising area for future research.

Sources: International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology, 2007; International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology, 2008; Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents, 2008; The Open Public Health Journal, 2008

9. Immune system boost

The cellular activity that is associated with a forest’s possible anti-cancer effects is also indicative of a general boost to the immune system you rely on to fight off less serious ills, like colds, flus, and other infections.

A 2010 review of research related to this effect noted that “all of these findings strongly suggest that forest environments have beneficial effects on human immune function,” but acknowledged that more research on the relationship is needed.

Source: Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine, 2010

10. Improved mental health

Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues may all be eased by some time in the great outdoors — especially when that’s combined with exercise. (This is to be expected, to some extent, as both greenery and exercise are known to reduce stress.)

One study found that walks in the forest were specifically associated with decreased levels of anxiety and bad moods, and another found that outdoor walks could be “useful clinically as a supplement to existing treatments” for major depressive disorder.

“Every green environment improved both self-esteem and mood,” found an analysis of 10 earlier studies about so-called “green exercise,” and “the mentally ill had one of the greatest self-esteem improvements.” The presence of water made the positive effects even stronger.

Sources: Environmental Science and Technology, 2010; Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012; Journal of Affective Disorders, 2013

11. Reduced risk of early death

The health effects of green space are wide-ranging, and studies that can’t prove cause-and-effect still show strong associations between access to nature and longer, healthier lives.

“The percentage of green space in people’s living environment has a positive association with the perceived general health of residents,” concluded a Dutch study of 250,782 people.

Nearby green space was even more important to health in urban environments, the researchers found. In fact, they wrote, “our analyses show that health differences in residents of urban and rural municipalities are to a large extent explained by the amount of green space.”

A follow-up study by the same research team relied on mortality assessed by physicians and found that a wide variety of diseases were less prevalent among people who lived in close proximity to green space. Other studies have made a direct link between time spent in forests and other measures of overall health.

A recent study in Environmental Health Perspectives found a similar connection, finding about a 12% lower mortality rate, with the biggest improvements related to reduced risk of death from cancer, lung disease, or kidney disease.

Why the connection? Researchers point to “recovery from stress and attention fatigue, encouragement of physical activity, facilitation of social contact and better air quality” as well as nature’s positive effect on mental health, which would boost overall health and longevity as well.

Sources: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 2006; Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 2009; Biomedical and Environmental Sciences, 2012; Environmental Health Perspectives, 2016

This article was originally published on Business Insider.

By Lauren F Friedman and Kevin Loria, Tech Insider

(Photo credits: Pixabay)

How many decisions do you make on a daily basis?

Whether you realize it or not, from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep you are being inundated with decisions both big and small.

From deciding what to wear and what to eat, to how to approach someone at work, your brain is constantly making decisions.

While these decisions may not seem taxing, research has found that your brain can really only handle making a certain amount of decisions before you lose your ability to make good choices.

This may explain why supermarkets have candy at the registers. After traipsing the isles of your local supermarket making decisions about what to put into your cart and what to avoid, decision fatigue sets in, and you are more likely to give in to temptation.

It also explains why the creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, who is one of the richest people in the world, chooses to wear the same outfit day in and day outour. Relieving the stress of figuring out what to wear each morning leaves him the brainpower to make other more important decisions for the rest of the day.

For the average person, decision fatigue begins to set in around lunch time. It is at this time that you lose a good chunk of your willpower, your ability to focus and your ability to make good decisions.

While a good diet or even a healthy lunch can help to reduce the severity of decision fatigue, it really only provides a small amount of relief.

In any given day, your brain can really only handle so much decision making before you begin losing your willpower and your ability to think clearly.

This is amplified further when going through a rough period in your life and when your body is already under a lot of stress. During these times in your life, making the “right” decision can feel a lot more challenging and stressful.

When faced with decision fatigue you are also more likely to eat more and spend more. You also become more vulnerable and are more likely to find yourself agreeing to things that you don’t really want to do.

Biologically, it seems that our brains can only handle so much decision making, but in all of this, where does that leave the decision making skills of the heart?

Could it be that we are overworking and unnecessarily stressing our brain instead of relying on other decision making mechanisms that we have been granted?

Making decisions from the heart takes very little mental strain. In fact, when you make a decision from a place of intuition, it often feels effortless and like the natural thing to do.

Our bodies are extremely intelligent, and it seems that the fact decision fatigue even exists could be a clear indicator that we are not really tapping into all of our given powers.

Using your intuition to make choices in your life can definitely help to fight off decision fatigue and can help you to conserve the decision-making power of your brain.

Here is how to use your intuition plus some other methods you can try:

4 Ways to Avoid Decision Fatigue

1. Use Your Intuition

As already mentioned, your heart holds valuable decision making powers and can be used in conjunction with your brain.

We all have an intuition, all we need to do is begin using it so it becomes stronger. One simple technique is to close your eyes, place your hand over your heart and visualize energy shifting from your brain into your heart center. Once you feel the shift of energy, present the decision to your heart.

Often your heart replies as a strong whisper or as a feeling of knowing. It may not make sense to the brain, so it is important to not try to rationalize the answer. Just trust it and see where it leads you.

Of course, when your are feeling low or tired, accessing your intuition can also be challenging, which is why the other steps below are also important to observe.

2. Get Organized

The more organized you are for your day ahead, the less likely you are going to run into decision fatigue.

Instead of trying to organize what you are going to wear or what you are going to eat at the last minute, consider having a routine all planned out where your don’t have to make any decisions.

While being this organized takes some planning, even reducing a few key decisions from your day can have an impact.

Just like Mark Zuckerberg wears the same outfit every day, when you get organized and remove unnecessary decisions, it leaves you with more time and energy.

3. Sleep On It

If you have to make big decisions in the later half of the day, consider sleeping on it before signing the dotted line. To make this effective, try to not think about your decision or any of the details until first thing in the morning.

Often when you wake up in the morning your mind is clear and fresh and you are more likely to make the “right” decision moving forward. In the morning your mind is also sharper and has the strength to look through the finer details.

If you don’t have time to sleep on it, consider doing a quick 20 minute meditation instead. By clearing your mind and recharging your soul, you can gain decision making power not only from your brain but also from your heart.

4. Trust Yourself

One of the most beneficial ways to avoid decision fatigue is to trust yourself. Instead of going back and forth over things again and again, be confident and bold when it comes to making your decisions.

The minute you second guess or doubt yourself, decision fatigue can set in a lot quicker. While its ok to change your mind, try to stick to your decision once you have made it and see it through.

Often the decision that we first make is the one that we end up going back to anyway, so commit to your first choice and trust yourself.

This article was oirginally published at Forever Conscious and used here with permission.