The power of the human mind

  • Please picture an iceberg and now imagine that the iceberg is submerged and all that you can see is the very top of it. The rest of that huge bulk lies deep below the water. Well, if you were now to imagine that the bit that you can see above the water approximately 10% represents the part of your mind that you use during an entire lifetime, while the bit below that huge roughly 90% is the part of your brain that never gets used, then you’ll understand how we are not only underutilizing our very own ‘supercomputer’ but just consider the potential of the mind which many people miss out on. In the words of author James Allen “ You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you”

    I hope that the reader finds the information interesting, educational and certainly helpful in what it may open up in terms of opportunities for personal development. I will begin as from next week exploring how the mind can be used for faster and more effective learning by discussing the fascinating subject of accelerated learning and memory, so whether you are an emerging student or a more mature learner looking to maximize your brain’s potential you may just wish to ‘tune in’ next time. Let the journey into mastering your mind begin.


    Accelerated Learning

    It is true to say that the mind can be viewed as an iceberg and throughout our lifetimes we never really use the full potential of our mind’s capacity. The brain, being a supercomputer is capable of making infinite connections per second and is vastly superior to any man made computer available to date.

    Why is it then that so many of us would argue that we have a poor mind or poor memory and that we are forgetful. Consider this situation, and it has happened to most people – you wander into a room and suddenly can’t remember why you came there? Maybe you put down your keys or phone and return to the exact place where you would have sworn you left them and yet they are not there. We struggle with names and faces and we can’t even remember something as simple as an eight-digit pin number, let alone recall what we ate for lunch a few days ago.

    The reason is that from a very early age we never train our minds to think the way the brain likes to learn best. The brain retains and process information not in words and abstract grammar but in pictures. They say a picture can speak a thousand words and that is exactly why because pictures communicate in the brain’s language. Imagine your favourite car or consider describing your ideal partner. Are you seeing those descriptions in words or in pictures? Do you dream in words? Of course not, the mind can only relate to pictures and symbols. Knowing this helps us to accelerate our potential beyond the normal 10% and develop a far sharper memory and ability to learn and retain new information more efficiently.

    Accelerated learning is like putting your brain on turbo-power and one of the first things you can learn is how to reduce information into more symbolic form. Let me give you an example. Here are 10 words you can try memorizing – WALLET – SNAKE – PEACHES – SCREW DRIVER – DRUM – BOOK – PIANO – GOAT – MIRROR – TANK. Now look away from the list and note down the list the best you can remember it. The chances are that you may remember a few of the words but almost certainly you will struggle with whole list, and if I was to ask you from memory to recall the list backwards you would think I were mad. With accelerated learning you can learn to not only recall the entire list, but you can also learn 100 words just as easily…and say them backwards!

    The key is to use the pictures in your mind in a creative way to make strong connections. But that is only part of the story because next you must learn to access the most receptive mode for learning known as the Alpha state. Studies into brain frequencies show that when the mind is relaxed then it learns without any distraction. This alpha state or learning state can be generated, by learning self-hypnosis or meditation so that in effect the mind turns into a laser, pin pointing and retaining far more information. In some educational facilities, students listen to relaxing music, ideally classical to encourage this learning state. This is known as the Mozart effect. Indeed not only is the student more able to learn new information but can also recall that information to achieve better grades on average up to one grade higher than they otherwise might.

    Other methods for stimulating better recall include the use of vivid colours to encode information more prominently on the memory. Where colours, creative symbols and imagination through association are all combined together, the learner creates a powerful combination.

    In my next blog entry I will share how to memorize that list of ten words so that you never forget them and I will also show you a powerful exercise for entering the alpha state.

    So how do we accelerate learning above and beyond the normal level which as we have already discovered accounts for ten percent of what the brain is really capable of. How do we ensure that the memory becomes sharper and retains information more long term?
    In my last blog I explained that information decays very quickly if it isn’t encoded in a way that makes it ‘stick’ or makes it stand out to our conscious awareness. The secret lies very simply in how we process information. The adage ‘A picture speaks a thousand words’ is that secret. Once you can encode any information in pictures you can capture vast amounts of information very quickly and always know how to access that information weeks and even months later. Most pictures we see don’t stick though because if they did then they would fill up the brain’s ‘hard drive’ pretty quickly. That is why we forget most peoples’ names and we might find it difficult to recall any information, which is mundane or doesn’t excite our attention. If I asked you to think of a picture that would stick in your head for the rest of your life however, you would probably have no problem at all recalling what happened on September the 11th 2001 and yet would probably have no clue as to what you were doing on September 17th 2003, unless of course that date had a special meaning for you in your life. So what makes information stick?
    It is simple really. Anything that evokes emotion in us or peaks our attention because it is illogical, funny, violent, colourful or rude tends to be very memorable. That is why cartoons are more memorable than a long poem. Knowing this allows us to channel our learning using these basic principals. Take information you want to learn and then turn it into a picture, which is memorable using some of the principals outlined. In its simplest form the picture must be associated with something illogical or extreme and then connected to a piece of information which is already familiar. There are well-documented techniques for associating information for better memory and recall but my favourite is called the ‘Loci’ method, which relies on associating pictures with familiar locations such as the rooms in your home.
    Start by taking a mental journey through your home. Maybe begin in your bedroom and then imagine walking through to your bathroom and then find the toilet and move onto another room, which isn’t your initial room. Imagine walking down the stairs and walking into the room closest to the street then move into the room further back and then the kitchen. Finally study the back door and then walk into the garden or area behind your home. You now have 10 locations where you can potentially place any information you choose.
    Now I have to stress this is simplistic but the concept is the same for any information, no matter how detailed, you wish to recall. Take the list we looked at last time WALLET-SNAKE-PEACHES-SCREW DRIVER-DRUM-BOOK-PIANO-GOAT-MIRROR-TANK. The list is irrelevant but the concept of memorizing the list is very relevant.

    Start off again in your bedroom and now connect the word ‘Wallet’ with your bedroom in an illogical, funny, colourful or extreme way. Maybe imagine a huge gigantic leather wallet stuffed with fifty pound notes right in the middle of your bedroom. The second location was bathroom so we now connect the second word ‘snake’ to that location. Remember to make the picture stick by making it fit something out of the norm. So in this case we might imagine walking into the bathroom and being horrified to see a giant snake wrapped around the showerhead and seeing the bath full of snakes (Sorry if you have a fear of snakes!) Proceed to the next location, which was ‘toilet’ and make a funny connection with ‘peaches’. Maybe see loads of juicy peaches filling your toilet and spilling over the sides. Proceed through the entire list and connect each word to a location. The moment you revisit each location you will find the word pops into your mind as a picture. What do you remember in your bedroom? What could you see in the bathroom, and what about the toilet, yes those peaches! You get the idea?
    Just for fun try memorizing a shopping list of ten items and connect them to the ten locations. Once you have achieved ten why not extend your locations to twenty or even more. One memory expert uses the very same concept to remember the order of 10 packs of 52 playing cards after having seen them only once using exactly the same principle.
    This literally is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to memory and accelerated learning. If you have enjoyed this then please visit my page and LIKE, SUBSCRIBE and FOLLOW. If you would like to know more I am always available to answer questions so please private message me again via my page.


    Colour spinning

    Colour Spinning – Keeping your emotions under control

    One of the most paralysing and worrying emotions people face throughout their careers is that of fear borne out of self doubt about a particular situation and its potential outcome. What NLP teaches us is that often this ‘fear’ is nothing more than an illusion, a construct of our own imaginations, and since this is the case, there is no better ally in dealing with this type of emotion than the imagination itself. The self talk that constantly unsettles and deceives us before we have even faced a particular situation can be damaging and unnecessary but herein lies the beauty of NLP in its simplicity to change perspective and quickly neutralise these negative feelings.

    With the following technique you must first establish mentally what the problem you might be facing is. Then with your eyes closed try to imagine experiencing that situation as clearly as your imagination will allow. Try to ‘see’ ‘hear’ and ‘feel’ and bring as much clarity to the imagined situation as you can. Where do you experience this feeling most? Usually people will identify the anxiety of a perceived challenge as starting somewhere below their solar plexus. Now, can you identify which way that feeling moves? In other words, it is rare that when you feel anxiety that it will simply habituate in one place, and it is far more likely that the feeling will rotate somehow and usually that feeling will be like a churning upward feeling. If this is the case try to imagine this ‘churning’ feeling as a colour. The colour itself could be any colour you wish, although contrast will be important for this exercise so try to choose a colour you associate with ‘negative’. Now with your eyes closed and using the breathing techniques which are explained in this book, imagine pulling this churning , rotating colour ring out of your stomach, flipping it over and giving it another more ‘positive’ colour. As you do this, make sure you spin the new colour ring in the opposite direction so that instead of it churning upwards and round it will instead be perceived as spinning in the opposite direction. Finally bring the new rotating ring back inside your chest and breathe more calmly.

    If you have done this as explained then you should notice a dramatic reduction in anxiety. Of course reading about the process and doing the exercise are very different so make sure you actually give the exercise a go. At cumbria hypnosis we show you how to use similar stratgies to self empower and negate unnecessary paralyzing emotion.


    Eliminating Fear

    Swish’ – Eliminating Your Fear in Five Minutes

    A variation on same theme as colour spinning is called the ‘swish’ method. With this technique you learn to literally ‘swish’ the problem from a negative one into a more positive one. This technique is slightly more complex because it requires you to go through a number of stages to reach the final desired effect but by following the guidance carefully you should learn to master this powerful approach quickly and easily.

    So let’s begin. Firstly it is important to find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed for at least fifteen to twenty minutes. Make sure your mobile phone is switched to silent and ensure you have a comfortable place to sit. I always say ‘sit’ because with this kind of exercise there is the danger that once you enter a reflective, meditative state you could easily fall asleep if you happen to be lying down. Now consider a situation where you were strong and sure of yourself. This need not be related to a current memory, just any scenario where you felt good about yourself, your achievements and your emotions were more than positive. Now try to imagine this as vividly as you possibly can. See colours, hear sounds and feel your emotions as if you were there right now.

    Next imagine pushing that scene off to the right. Use your imagination and push the picture you just created off to the right. In front of you create a new picture. This one should be the current challenging situation you are facing. ‘See’ this scene with equal clarity as the previous one. Now here is the trick – You must now imagine this image getting gradually smaller, duller, and with less colour. The image must gradually fade and become smaller and smaller. At same time take the positive experience which is waiting over to the right and literally ‘swish’ it very quickly right in front of the fading image and make it completely mask and overshadow the negative experience. Make the image bright, colourful and bigger than before. Now immerse yourself once more in this positive experience. What you should find is that your immediate challenge is now reduced. Repeat this process as many times as you need to.


    Mind Over Cancer


    Research has shown that harbouring negative emotions in the mind and body is one of the major causes of psychosomatic illnesses today. It is possible that past trauma, anger, resentment, sadness, regret, guilt and other negative emotions which  have not been resolved are embedded deep in our subconscious memories, causing an imbalance in the body which could manifest as illness and chronic pain.

    This program allows you to bring would bring about a  new refreshing, holistic approach to healing through your mind. Each session is dealt with empathy, compassion, caring and understanding.  These sessions are known to cause a positive shift within you and can turn your health around dramatically!

    Note: Through various studies,  research has shown that hypnotherapy can have tremendous benefits to those requiring hospital care and especially for patients before and after surgery. The healing times for those who undergo some form of relaxation and hypnotherapy before surgery is minimised, patients feel more in control and less stressed and this assists in overall healing of the body.

    Why not have a go at this short exercise now?