If you’ve ever read any books on self improvement, you’ve probably heard of the concept of “affirmations.” Affirmations are positive thoughts that individuals repeat to themselves to help plant that thought inside their minds.
Émile Coué, a French psychologist and pharmacist in the late 19th century, was one of the first individuals to make use of affirmations as a popular form of psychotherapy and self-improvement. He called it “optimistic autosuggestion.”
His most famous method – the Coué Method – involved saying the positive affirmation, “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better” at the beginning and end of each day. It was meant to be repeated in a clear and focused state of mind.
Coué believed that through the use of affirmations and imagination an individual could motivate their self to better living habits and health. Émile Coué first noticed that he could improve the effectiveness of a drug by praising its effectiveness to his patients before prescribing it to them. This discovery eventually became known as the placebo effect.
These kinds of findings turned Coué’s interests towards hypnosis and digging deeper into the nature of suggestion.
Coué observed that the main obstacle to hypnosis and autosuggestion was willpower; in order for the suggestions to be most effective, the individual had to reserve judgment and accept the suggestion based on an element of faith.
If you practice this stuff being ultra-skeptical, then you’ll block your mind from taking in the suggestion and it won’t work.
This could explain why hypnosis can be so hard to study reliably using the scientific method. Because each individual has their own degrees of suggestibility, and trust and open-mindedness is so crucial to the effectiveness of the treatment.
This makes it difficult to establish a good “control group” – because different people are often suggestible to different types of suggestions.
The power of suggestion has proven to play a huge yet perplexing and largely unexplained role in human psychology. According to a recent study reported by Wired Magazine, placebo drugs have actually been getting more effective over time.
Perhaps this is due to society’s growing acceptance of pills as a convenient “cure-all” for all of our problems? Either way, the power of suggestion proves to have a real effect on the human mind.
It seems only natural that with all of this evidence on the power of suggestion that scientists should begin to seek what factors play a role in making a particular suggestion powerful. Hypnosis should not just be seen as a tool that only works on “highly suggestible” persons, but also a tool that can be learned and applied by everyone.
Émile Coué himself claimed that he was not a healer, but one who taught others how to heal themselves. In this sense, many hypnotists often say that “The only form of hypnosis is self-hypnosis.”
Personally, the affirmation “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better” is one of my favorite positive thoughts.
Not only does it roll off the tongue nicely, it also presents a fundamental truth about being a human being: we are always growing, evolving, and learning new things each and every day.
It’s not just a positive thought, it’s an inspiring truth.
Try It Out For Yourself: Take a moment, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Then say to yourself 3 times in a calm and relaxed tone: “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”
If you’ve never tried affirmations before, this is a nice simple exercise to get you more familiar with it. When you begin to take this stuff seriously and develop a consistent practice, it can have a very dramatic effect on your life.
I do a small affirmations exercise like this at least a few times every week – I hope it works for you as much as it works for me!
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