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by Toby Maguire
A Taoist Master
In order to strengthen your will power, it is important to know a little about how the mind works.
Our brains are made up of billions of neural pathways which are created by repeating a thought process over and over again. These neural pathways enable us to learn things, and when we repeat certain actions or modes of behaviour many times, they become automatic, that is, they are performed without really concentrating or paying much attention to them. Remember how difficult it was when you first learnt to ride a bicycle or learnt to swim? However, once the mind has mastered those tasks, they can be performed with almost no thought or concentration whatsoever because they have been ingrained in what is known as the subconscious mind.
In fact almost all of our thoughts come from the subconscious mind and it has a big influence on our actions. These neural pathways are often strengthened by emotions, positive or negative, and can have very powerful influences on the way we act. If the subconscious mind has been ingrained with positive thoughts, confidence, happiness and a positive view on life will ensue. However, constant negative imprints on the subconscious mind can result in addictive behaviour, low self-esteem, depression and lack of self-control.
So how do we change our subconscious thoughts?
1. The first way is to start focusing on what you want out of life, rather than what you don't want. If you stand in front of a mirror and continually tell yourself you are fat, your subconscious mind will form a neural pathway telling your conscious mind you are fat and therefor make you act accordingly. So the first thing we need to do is to be very clear about what we want in life and to start focusing on positive traits rather than negative.
2. The second thing we must learn to do is to conjure up images in our minds of how we would like to be or what we want. Why? Because the subconscious mind works through mental images and by conjuring up positive images in your mind about how you would like to look, these are then projected on to your conscious mind. Positive images also conjure up positive emotions and all emotions whether positive or negative also help to strengthen neural pathways in the brain.
3. Finally, it is important to become more observant of your thoughts. Check in on your mind from time to time and just notice what you are thinking about. Your conscious mind has the power to make decisions, so every time you notice you are dwelling on something negative, make a conscious decision to replace it with a positive thought. This is something your conscious mind does have the power to change and the more you practice it, the easier it will become.
By practicing positive visualisations for just 10 minutes a day will not only help you increase your self-control, but can also boost your confidence, make you feel happier and even improve your health.