Did you know that the unconscious mind doesn’t recognize the word ‘don’t’? Every time you use it, your mind will skip it and go straight to the rest of your sentence. So when you say to your kids ‘Don’t run, you’ll fall over’, you’re actually giving them a command to run and fall, which makes it much more likely to happen. It might be more constructive to say ‘Run on the grass’ or ‘Watch where you’re going when you run.’ Think of the UK’s Drink Drive campaign ‘Don’t Drink and Drive.’ Surely it would make more sense to say ‘Stay Sober, Arrive Safe’?
Since your unconscious mind doesn’t process a negative, it’s important to be clear with the words you use, whether speaking to yourself or someone else. Instead of telling yourself what not to do, focus more on what to do. Think of new ways to phrase things by removing the negatives. I can’t think how many times I’ve been nervous in the past and repeatedly said to myself ‘Don’t mess this up’ then watched, horrified, as I did exactly that! If I’d known what I know now and concentrated instead on what I did want to happen, the result is likely to have been very different.
Making the transition to positive language and rephrasing how you speak to yourself and others will not only help your unconscious mind, but also your conscious mind! You’ll start thinking – and acting – more effectively. Where the head goes, your body follows.
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