Subliminal cues can reverse age stereotypes and increase your strength.

Two recent studies on subliminal messages have found that subconscious visual cues can improve athletic performance and reduce negative age stereotypes of physical ability. The latest research shows that subliminal messages have the power to fortify your inner strength and boost self-confidence on and off the court.

Subliminal visual cues are words, pictures or symbols that are unidentifiable to your conscious awareness. Subliminal stimuli happens so quickly that it is literally “below the threshold” of your conscious mind.

Visual stimuli that is flashed for just a few milliseconds can be absorbed at a subconscious level before your conscious mind has time to interpret the incoming visual stimuli. The effect of subliminal messages can be positive or negative depending on the content of the messages being flashed before your eyes.

A Brief History of Subliminal Messaging

The concept of subliminal messaging took hold in the public consciousness after the 1957 publication of a book titled The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard. In his book, Packard introduces the idea of subconscious messaging that advertisers could use to influence consumers.

In the summer of 1957, James Vicary conducted an experiment on subliminal visual cues during screenings of the film Picnic. Every five seconds, Vicary flashed words like “Drink Coca-Cola” and “Hungry? Eat Popcorn!” for 1/3000th of a second—which is below the threshold of conscious perception. Vicary claimed that displaying these subliminal suggestions increased Coca-Cola sales by 18.1% and caused a 57.8% jump in popcorn sales.

Although the results of his study were dubious, in January of 1974, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) banned subliminal advertising from radio and television broadcasting.

The official announcement by the FCC admitted that—even though they weren’t 100% convinced that subliminal techniques were effective—they stated, “whether effective or not, they were contrary to the public interest, and that any station employing subliminal messages risked losing its broadcast license.”

The two most recent studies on subliminal messaging show that subliminal visual cues do, in fact, have an effect on physical function, endurance, and inner strength.

Subliminal Visual Cues Can Renew a Youthful Sense of Self

The first recent study on the power of subliminal messaging was conducted at Yale University. The researchers at the Yale School of Public Health found that older individuals who were subliminally exposed to positive visual cues and stereotypes about aging showed improved physical functioning that lasted for several weeks.

The October 2014 study, “Subliminal Strengthening: Improving Older Individuals, Physical Function Over Time With an Implicit-Age-Stereotype Intervention,” was published in the journal Psychological Science.

For this study, the researchers used a unique method to examine whether exposure to positive age stereotypes could weaken negative age stereotypes and lead to more vitality and healthier outcomes.

Some of the participants were subjected to positive age stereotypes on a computer screen that flashed words such as “spry” and “creative” at speeds that were too fast to be picked up consciously. This is the first time that researchers have looked at whether positive age stereotypes, presented subliminally across multiple sessions in the community, might lead to improved outcomes.

In a press release, lead researcher Becca Levy PhD, associate professor and director of the Social and Behavioral Science Division at Yale said, “The challenge we had in this study was to enable the participants to overcome the negative age stereotypes which they acquire from society, as in everyday conversations and television comedies. The study’s successful outcome suggests the potential of directing subliminal processes toward the enhancement of physical function.”

During the experiment, positive age stereotypes and positive self-perceptions of aging were strengthened, and negative age stereotypes and negative self-perceptions of aging were weakened.

The researchers found that the subliminal intervention influenced physical function through a chain reaction of positive effects: First it strengthened the subjects’ positive age stereotypes, which then strengthened their positive self-perceptions, which then improved their physical function.

The improvement in these outcomes continued for three weeks after the last intervention session. Most importantly, negative age stereotypes and negative self-perceptions of aging were weakened.

On a cautionary note, the negative age stereotypes and subliminal messages that each of us absorb non-consciously every day through advertising and other streams of media can lead to lower self-esteem. If left unchecked, this can create a snowball effect and downward spiral that saps your inner strength and self-confidence.

Subliminal Messages Can Reduce Perceptions of Effort and Increase Endurance

The second study was conducted by Professor Samuele Marcora at the University of Kent in collaboration with colleagues at Bangor University. In this experiment the researchers flashed subliminal cues, such as action-related words or happy vs. sad faces on a digital screen while endurance athletes were exercising on a stationary bicycle.

Their December 2014 study, “Non-Conscious Visual Cues Related to Affect and Action Alter Perception of Effort and Endurance Performance,” was published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

The subliminal words and faces appeared on a digital screen for less than 0.02 seconds and were masked by other visual stimuli making them unidentifiable to the participant’s conscious mind. When the athletes were presented with positive visual cues like “go” and “energy” or were shown happy faces they were able to exercise significantly longer compared to those who were shown sad faces or words linked to inaction.

Related: Keep Running – How the Brain Can Be Manipulated

This research is the first to demonstrate that subliminal visual cues can impact athletic performance. Additionally, the researchers found that the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) can be affected, for better or worse, by subliminal cues when you exercise.

Professor Marcora is currently exploring ways in which this research could open up new possibilities for athletes to improve their performance by using technology, such as ‘smart glasses’, to provide positive subliminal cues during training and competition.

Conclusion: Self-Perceptions Can Be Anything You Imagine Them to Be

I learned about the power of subliminal messaging through trial-and-error as an ultra-endurance athlete out in the field. I’ve written extensively about how-to use positive subliminal messaging to improve performance in The Athlete’s Way. It’s exciting to see scientists proving the benefits of non-conscious visual cues—on and off the court—for people from all walks of life through empirical research.

Related: Subliminal Messages – How They Work and How They Affect Us

This article was originally published on Psychology Today.

About the author

Christopher Bergland is a world-class endurance athlete, coach, author, and political activist. Follow him on Twitter for updates on The Athlete’s Way blog posts.

If you’d like to read more on this topic, check out his Psychology Today blog posts:

(Photo via Can Stock Photo)

The next time you go out for running, remember that you are not only helping your brain but also improving your emotional health.

Running is a road to self-awareness and reliance – you can push yourself to extremes and learn the harsh reality of your physical and mental limitations or coast quietly down a solitary path watching the earth spin beneath your feet. – Doris Brown

Are you familiar with this feeling? Do you gain insight into your emotional and physical self while you run? Do you enjoy the feeling of the wind against your face and the freedom of being outdoors alone with your thoughts? You may feel that after a good run your mind is clear and ready to absorb information.

You can also find that your outlook is more positive after a run and that things that were troubling you no longer feel so bad. Well, your feelings have a scientific basis. Research conducted in the field of neuroscience shows the effects aerobic exercise have on cognitive clarity and emotional well-being.

New Neurons Would Be Created

It used to be accepted that we were born with a certain amount of neurons and that by the time we became an adult no new neurons would be created. This however, has been proven to be incorrect. Through research on animals it has been discovered that new neurons are continually produced in the brain throughout our entire life.

Karen Postal, president of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology says that the only activity that is shown to trigger the birth of these new neurons is vigorous aerobic exercise. “If you are exercising so that you sweat – about 30 to 40 minutes – new brain cells are being born” says Postal. So sweating it out on the treadmill or out in the open is doing your brain a lot of good and helping it stay mentally healthy for years to come.

People Who Run Can Recover From Negative Emotions More Quickly

In a study by Emily Bernstein and Richard McNally it was found that aerobic exercise may help reduce negative emotions. Bernstein is a runner and she said “I notice in myself that I just feel better when I’m active.” She wanted to find out why this was the case and to know exactly the effect that exercise has on us.

The study set out to look at the way exercise changes the way people react to their emotions. Participants were told to stretch or jog for 30 minutes and were then were shown a sad movie; the final scene of the 1979 film The Champ. The participants then reported their emotional responses. It was found that those who had run for 30 minutes recovered more quickly from their sad emotional experience than those who had just stretched.

Working Memory Would Be Enhanced

A recent study by Lin Li et al titled: “Acute Aerobic Exercise Increases Cortical Activity during Working Memory: A Functional MRI Study in Female College Students”  looks at the effect of acute aerobic exercise on cognitive function.

Their study looked at the effect of a session of acute aerobic exercise on working memory. Fifteen young females participated in the study. There were scanned, after an acute exercise session, using a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) while they performed a working memory task. It was found that the cortex and the left frontal hemisphere showed signs of improvement of control processes. From these findings the researchers noted that this indicates: “acute exercise could benefit working memory at a macro-neural level.” Thus, the study shows a connection between aerobic exercise and improvement in memory.

Summation

Next time you are out for a run know that you are doing yourself a world of good. Not only are you aiding your brain on a neurological level you are also working to improve your emotional health. Your cognitive abilities such as memory will be improved and your outlook on life will probably be more positive. If you don’t already run, then you may want to take out those old running shoes and give them a try.

This article was originally posted on Life Hack.

What is meditation? We hear the term quite often nowadays and it has become more and more mainstream lately. With the rise in popularity of taking care of ourselves, being more mindful and living in the now, it’s no wonder.

Meditation is the practice of observing our minds and bodies in the present moment. It may sound simple but it takes a lifetime to master this life-altering technique.

How to meditate

There are many ways to begin meditating: using guided meditations, binaural beats or simply observing our thoughts and emotions. However you do it, you will notice the benefits on your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health after a very short period of time as it circulates through your daily life.

During meditation, our very inner being can relax. The rigidity of the day melts away. Our thoughts, worries, desires – all of these things float to our outer awareness and we can simply Be.

Essentially, we are aiming to contemplate our “now.” This is easier said than done, especially if you haven’t been meditating regularly. You can meditate while moving, walking, doing mundane tasks or laying down. I recommend sitting up straight and tall with some cushions to support your posture. You certainly want to be comfortable, but not so comfortable that you fall asleep.

Don’t be discouraged if you do find that you fall asleep while meditating for the first time. You are still getting the benefits, and as you continue your practice, you will get better at staying awake and aware during meditation.

Set a timer. Whatever amount of time you have available is perfect. Even just one minute. One is always more than zero! If you are going to listen to a guided meditation, then make sure you have a comfortable pair of headphones.

I find that if I am getting easily distracted during my practice, it is very helpful to listen to a guided meditation. Listening to these tend to keep me focused on my breathing instead of drifting off into next Tuesday’s dinner plans.

Now that you’re set up and ready to go, simply draw your attention to your breathing. As you breathe in and breathe out notice the feeling of the breath entering your throat, chest, and lungs. Imagine your breath is an ocean wave undulating in and out of your belly. As the new and different thoughts come in, welcome them. Do not try to resist your thoughts as this will only intensify them.

At the University of Spirituality, they affirm that it is okay to have thoughts while you meditate: “…You will always have thoughts so long as you are breathing. What kinds of thoughts are you entertaining? Are you allowing your egoic mind to distract you with bombarding uncertainties? Or are you intuiting thoughts of acceptance and unfolding, that come from the deeper/higher part of yourself.”

When we say to “notice” your thoughts, it means to realize you are having a “thought,” and to acknowledge it. Say hello to it, even if it is painful. Do not keep it, grab onto it, or follow the path that thought wants to lead you on. Simply watch as this thought tries to distract you from observing other thoughts. Thoughts are very needy, they love our attention and they will try their very best to keep all of our attention on them. You will notice as you meditate more often how proficient your mind is at distracting you from other thoughts onto itself.

Imagine you are walking down the road of your mind and that each thought is only a car passing by, each with its own family, destination, and agenda. You do not need to flag down each car and ask them where they are going. You are on your own journey this time. When the timer goes off, you may hitch a ride with one of these many thoughts if you choose. Do not worry, they will be waiting for you.

Meditation Can Shift Your Physiology and Alter Your Brain

When we begin to practice meditation regularly, it begins to affect our physiology. Meditation can heal people afflicted with health issues and diseases. Doctors are finding evidence that deep meditation can actually alter your cell structure and aid in healing. In a study on the effects of meditation on survivors of breast cancer, researchers said: “This study appears to suggest that our minds and bodies can affect one another.”

Emiliana Simon-Thomas of UC Berkeley says: “Essentially when you spend a lot of time meditating, the brain shows a pattern of feeling safe in the world and more comfortable in approaching people and situations, and less vigilant and afraid, which is more associated with the right hemisphere.”

Relax Amid The Chaos And Feel The Pain Melt Out Of Your Body

In today’s chaotic world, the millions of thoughts surging through our minds can drive us to the brink of insanity. The clutter of our to-do list, what we’ve forgotten to get done today and how to go about completing the myriads of tasks is downright overwhelming. Meditation brings us clarity, focus, and calm. We can pause for a moment and soak in all the things we have to be grateful for.

Do you feel the stress and pain of daily life manifesting itself in back and neck strain, headaches and that sinking anxious feeling in your stomach? I know I do! As you begin to sink down into yourself, you can truly feel the pain and tension melting out of your sore body parts. You can feel your emotions surging out through your heart center. You begin to feel surrounded by love and light.

Meditation can support our emotional health. When you spend time contemplating yourself and becoming more aware of the “now” you begin to see a new perspective in your life. Your resentments become less nagging, you become more compassionate for the world around you. By serving yourself some alone time you end up serving the people around you by being more kind and loving.

No matter what you believe, at the core, meditation allows us to slow down and celebrate life. As we observe the “now” we become more intimate with ourselves, forgiving of our past, and accepting of whatever the future may bring. Meditation eases stress. Cardiologist Herbert Benson, MD says:: “Any condition that’s caused or worsened by stress can be alleviated through meditation.” And anything that lessens stress is going to have major health ramifications as far as promoting well-being inside and outside of your body.

How Long Should We Meditate

I think a good time to aim for is about 30 minutes. Most of us can squeeze 30 minutes in here or there throughout our week. But that can seem like an eternity if you aren’t used to meditating. If that is the case then work your way up to that, try 10 minutes. If you really feel like you don’t have enough time to meditate, then you probably need meditation more than anything! In these cases, I suggest listening to a guided meditation as you fall asleep. Your subconscious will listen and relax and your sleep will be sounder and more resting for it.

Your Turn

Have you ever tried to meditate? If you practice meditation regularly then you may be aware of many of these suggestions. Sometimes, it is nice to come to a reminder when we need it the most. How do you meditate? What do you do differently now than you did when you first began practicing? Let us know in the comments below!

This article was originally created and published by Visual Meditation. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution (active link to this article) and author bio.

Our mind and body are resilient and have the innate healing power.

You might not be who you think you are. Your very perception or idea of who you are has been weaved into your mind over time.

Surviving an accident was the easy part; coping with the chronic pain would prove more difficult. Danna Pycher shares her story about trauma and the transformative insight she gained that allowed her to harness the healing power of the subconscious mind.

We, all of us, are born as blank slates. Through our experiences, we are programmed to have certain beliefs about who we are, what we can achieve in life and what type of person we should be. From birth until six we’re essentially living life in a hypnotic trance. It’s why we learn languages so quickly at this young age. We are sponges just joyously absorbing everything around us.

At this precious age, we set up the rest of our lives. What we learned from the age of zero until six is essentially the patterns or programming we begin to develop from adolescence or from then and repeat again and again from adolescent into adulthood.

We are patterns. Sometimes our patterns do not serve us. Those patterns are called disease, depression, obesity, and the list unfortunately goes on and on. The mind and body, the disease and thought are all interconnected.

When events happen in life they’re recorded. When a stressful event happens it is recorded as is. And that creates a certain level of shock on the mind, which therefore sends the stress signals down the nervous system, which in turn will tell the endocrine system to increase adrenaline and cortisol, and while those levels are increased, our immune levels are lowered.

The fact that we have these stress responses initially is not a bad thing. And the fact that our minds compound all of these situations over time without ever letting them go, every situation builds upon each other.

So the real reason we experience stress in reality as for our own good, for our own safety. So, the initial stress isn’t bad, the continual attachment to this stress is bad.

When we experience stress, there’s a recording in the subconscious mind and enough of this recording over time will cause havoc and an overstressed nervous system, which in turn cause an overproduction stress hormones and a suppression of immune function.

So, now the gold question: How do we reverse all of this?

There’s a new study dedicated to all of this called psychoneuroimmunology. The best way that Danna has found to take the study off the paper and into real life to intervene in the influence of stress on immunity, is hypnotherapy.

The mind and body are resilient and have the innate healing power, yet sometimes they just need a bit of guidance.

Her message is: If you can heal your mind, you can heal your life.

In the video below she exposes the connection between your mind, who you think you are and the potential onset of disease:

 

Credits: The words of this article are of Danna Pycher.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx.

About Danna Pycher

Danna Pycher is a certified Neuro-Linguistic Hypnotherapist specializing in chronic illness and trauma. She is also a motivational speaker and coach. Her first book 3rd Generation and Beyond is a beautiful, powerful book of life philosophies according to a third generation Holocaust descendant. ” A must read for the young and old who are trying to find an identity or just need a reminder on how to appreciate the little things in life.” She enjoyed many years in broadcasting as an on-camera host, reporter, and producer working in the fields of health reporting and corporate productions. Her curiosity about the nature of human beings is what guides her professional pursuits. Visit her website.

It would seem strange if you hear about controlling illness through meditation?

Meditation is an ancient method that originally had a mystical character, but is now used by millions of people worldwide. More and more studies show the benefits of an emotional and physical level (eg. stress, blood pressure, negative emotions).

It seems that scientists will continue for a long time to deal with the “phenomenon of meditation”, since the findings of their studies are constantly confirm how much power lies behind this simple technique. Lately, scientists in Switzerland have announced that for the first time succeeded in creating a network of genes which controlled only by our thinking and that those who do meditation are achieving it a much greater extent.

What’s the relationship between the power of our thoughts, meditation and its effect on our body? Actually, this is just the way meditation works: controlling our thoughts, experts say, we can intervene in our body functions. The team of Dr. Martin Fussenegger, professor of Biotechnology and Bioengineering at the University of Basel, announced from the Swiss Institute of Technology in Zurich: “for the first time, we were able to gain access to the waves of human brain, transmit them wirelessly to a network of genes and control the expression of a gene according to the kind of thought. The control of genes expression through the power of thought is a dream which we were hunting for over a decade.

The idea came up from a videogame, Mindflex, where the players wear a special helmet which records brainwaves and through their thoughts control a ball on the screen, leading it through various obstacles.

In the research of Dr. Fussenegger, some volunteers gathered just as when one plays Mindflex, while others were meditating. To evaluate the results of their research, the scientists measured the production of a particular protein. All volunteers were able to remain focused on producing the protein and thus affect with their thinking the corresponding genes. But those who were in meditative state, produced through their thoughts much larger amounts of protein.

Simply put, this study proved that our thoughts affect matter and that this affection becomes stronger with meditation.

The lead of the research said he hopes that by using brainwaves, soon we’ll be able to tackle diseases such as chronic headaches, backaches, and epilepsy.

All this looks like science fiction and perhaps remind some Star Wars, but the announcements of scientists leave no room for doubt: the power of our thought is huge and we already use it even if we don’t realize it; and meditation is a powerful tool to learn how to use this power to make our lives better. It’s no coincidence that Mayo Clinic, the hospital that was voted No1 in the US, is already using meditation techniques in the patient therapy.

References:

http://www.queen.gr/well-being/psyhologia/item/103410-dialogismos-mporoyme-na-elegxoyme-akoma-kai-astheneies-me-ti-skepsi-mas#ixzz3KeKDybew

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/changing-our-dna-through-mind-control/

https://www.ethz.ch/en/news-and-events/eth-news/news/2014/11/controlling-genes-with-thoughts.html

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/141111/ncomms6392/full/ncomms6392.html

http://www.spiritualgenome.com/index.php/articles/44-genes-controlled-by-human-thought

http://www.wallstreetdaily.com/2014/11/28/mind-control-device/

By Nansy Kallikli