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Is it Possible to Retrain Your Brain and Improve Self Confidence?

Jan 27, 2008
There are lots of techniques and products that claim to be able to retrain your brain and improve self-confidence. But is there any clear evidence that it is possible to affect your subconscious and fundamentally change the way you feel about yourself?

I've been a personal development coach for pretty long time now, so I've obviously come into contact with many people desiring to make changes in their life. And one of the most common and fundamental changes a person can make is to improve their self-confidence.

One technique that claims to be able to improve self-confidence is affirmations. Affirmations are probably the easiest of all personal development techniques to employ. They simply require you to repeat -- or affirm -- positive statements to yourself. Research has shown that when used on a daily basis, affirmations can have some effect on self-confidence. However, this technique can take a very long time to show results, and in many cases, those results can be minimal.

Another technique to retrain your brain for increased self-confidence is to use self hypnosis. Hypnosis bypasses the critical conscious mind, to present commands or "suggestions" to the subconscious mind. Research on hypnosis suggests that approximately 55 to 60% of all individuals can be hypnotized, so while this technique can be useful to many people, it is by no means a fool-proof solution.

Self hypnosis in particular is difficult to assess as a meaningful way to improve self-confidence. Again, research suggest that self hypnosis can be useful for a wide range of issues, including calming fears and anxieties, and building greater self-esteem and confidence, though again, not everyone is likely to benefit from this technique.

Still another method of "mental reprogramming" is the use of subliminal suggestions. While there is much controversy about the effectiveness of subliminal commands and suggestions, several recent studies indicate that subliminal messages are both registered and understood by the subconscious mind.

The University of Bethlehem in Israel recently conducted subliminal research wherein participants were randomly shown subliminal images of either the Israeli or Palestine flag. The results of this research clearly indicate that subjects who had been exposed to the subliminal flag images altered their political points of view depending on which flag was used.

Follow-up research suggested that being shown the subliminal flag image could even cause the participants to change their voting behavior in the Israeli general election. This and other similar studies suggest that, not only are subliminal suggestions and symbols clearly understood, but they also have the power to change both attitude and behavior. While more research is necessary, the current studies suggest there is the potential to "retrain" states of mind and behavior through the use of subliminal suggestions and symbology.

Finally, one increasingly popular method to improve confidence is to use a "Gestalt" approach, which incorporates all of the above techniques and more in an attempt to "overwhelm" the subconscious mind with a deluge of new information. While there is little formal research on the effectiveness of this "all-inclusive" method of retraining the human brain, anecdotal evidence suggests that this may likely be the best approach.

The "Gestalt" method of overwhelming the subconscious mind is actually quite similar to brainwashing. The only difference being that the individual is in control of the process, and is basically attempting to brainwash themselves.

Overall, there isn't enough empirical evidence to say with certainty how effective any of these methods may be to improve self confidence, though it stands to reason that using a multi-faceted approach to "retrain your brain" is likely to produce the best results.
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Retrain your brain for confidence and success! Improve Self Confidence with "Positive Brainwashing"
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