Why We Do the Things We Do
Theory of Mind – by Saundra Berry, C.Ht.
In my years as a Hypnotherapist I am often asked, “Why do I continue to do things that I no longer want to do? Why is it so hard for me to change? Why do I keep picking men/women that are emotionally unavailable? Why do I always fail at diets? Why can’t I stop smoking? ”
Maybe you too, are wondering why it is that you cannot make positive changes in your life. Perhaps you want to exercise and eat a more balanced-healthful diet or stop smoking, change jobs, end an abusive relationship, or stop picking the wrong friends or mates. I’m sure that we all have things about ourselves that we would like to change but just find it difficult to stick to it. Well, there is an explanation, and it lies in our Subconscious Mind (SCM).
Dr. John Kappas, founder of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, shared a theory called, “The Theory of the Mind” where he outlined four areas of the mind that play a definite part in our ability to make changes in our lives.
Beginning at the bottom of the diagram:
Our Primitive Mind, which is part of the Subconscious Mind (SCM), holds our genetic coding, basic instinct, survival, and the fight-flight mechanism. For the most part the Primitive Mind is dormant unless triggered and we feel threatened. If we feel threatened, our basic instinct for survival kicks in and the fight-flight mechanism is engaged, as a defense mechanism. Our Modern Memory is also part of the SCM. This is where our memories from conception to present day are held. Everything we were taught as children, whether positive or negative, resides in the Modern Memory. Both the Primitive Mind and Modern Memory, reside within the SCM. The SCM represents 88% of our thinking power and believes that everything in the SCM is a “known” which represents, pleasure to the SCM.
The next area in the diagram is the Critical Area of the mind; Both Conscious Mind (CM) and SCM; Due to our own education and conditioning to develop our analytical skills around the 8th or 9th year of life. The Critical Area of the mind acts as the minds computer system between the CM and the SCM. Therefore, when we receive information or message units the Critical Area of the mind holds the information before it is sent into the SCM. You see, the SCM operates on the idea that a “known” represents pleasure and an “unknown” represents pain. In the diagram, there are positive and negative signs that represent information that our SCM has taken in over the years. Everything that passes through the Critical Area of the mind and drops into the SCM, whether positive or negative, represent a “known” and a “known” equals pleasure in this model of the SCM. So regardless if our memory of something in our past was a positive or negative experience, whether good or bad for us, the SCM sees it only as a “known” and therefore, that memory, experience or information, represents pleasure. This means, if you were abused or neglected as a child, the SCM has it in the memory bank as a “known” and that “known” represents pleasure although we all know that neglect and abuse are NOT considered pleasurable, in this model it is the language of the SCM.
The Conscious Mind (CM) represents our logic, reasoning, willpower, everyday thinking, and analytical skills and represents 12% of our thinking process. The CM retains events and feelings up to approximately one and half hours. So, as information/message units come into the CM, they are stopped at the Critical Area of the mind and then our built in computer system, begins to search through the SCM to see if the information is already stored, either the exact information or something that is familiar. Consciously, if it is, then the Critical Area of the mind allows the thought/idea through and it drops into the SCM, where it then becomes a “known”. If it is not, then the Critical Area’s computer system, along with the CM, will discard the idea/information because it is considered an “unknown” which represents pain.
What does this mean? Let’s say that you want to lose weight and you know that it will help you feel better and be healthier, just common sense right? Most people choose diet and exercise as their go-to way to combat losing weight. Therefore, within the CM, your logic, reasoning and willpower, that 12%, is where the idea comes into play. Let’s say that you have tried to lose weight in the past and your downfall has been, for the purpose of this example, chocolate cake. Now, as a child, one of your fondest memories is getting chocolate cake as a treat and it made you feel really good. Perhaps, the cake represents home and family, being loved, accepted, and appreciated. In the SCM, 88%, that chocolate cake is a “known” and as a “known” it represents pleasure. The thing is—perhaps in difficult times, you would eat cake to remind yourself that you are loved, accepted and appreciated; but, eating cake as a treat every now and then is okay, but maybe you are eating cake everyday to feel that pleasure and now all that cake has packed on the pounds. The numbers alone tell us why we cannot stop eating cake. 88% is saying that cake is a “known” and it makes us feel good vs. our CM, our logic, reasoning, and willpower being only 12% of our thinking power, telling us we need to stop eating cake and lose weight to be more healthy. What part of the mind do you think is going to win out?
So, how can we move beyond the 12% and tap into the 88% in order to make positive changes? Hypnosis is the most efficient and direct way into the SCM. By experiencing an overload of information/ message units, flooding into the CM, stopping at the Critical Area of the mind, the computer system, with complete relaxation, brought about by hypnosis, our Critical Area of the mind is opened, just like it was before we learned our own analytical skills, to then receive the suggestions for positive change and drops the suggestion directly into the SCM and the change takes place. Same for stop smoking, you know consciously that you would be healthier and have more money if you stopped smoking, yet at one time in your life, smoking was a source of stress reduction, and now, the SCM equates smoking to a “known”, bringing about a pleasurable association and we fail at quitting smoking. Again, through hypnosis, we are able to tap directly into the SCM to re-associate that “known” into a “known” that tells our mind that smoking represents an “unknown”, which brings about the association of smoking with poor health, throwing money out the window, etc. to bring about the positive change of being a non-smoker.
For those that may be able to go on that diet and exercise program or stop smoking on their own, consider yourself very lucky! You would be considered the minority! It takes 21 days to make a habit, so it can be done, but can you stick with it?
So, the next time that you are setting goals for yourself; consider the SCM and it’s 88% that is driving your thought processes and know that it isn’t about having no willpower and there is nothing wrong with you; you are part of the majority that need a little assistance in tapping into and changing the associations in your SCM in order to live your best life.
Saundra Berry, C.Ht.
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