I woke up feeling fantastic today. I mean, really fantastic. I’ve heard people say that they “spring out of bed” in the morning – today I literally did it.
Instead of waking up, bleary-eyed, groping for my tablet (that is also my alarm clock) and then slumping down into the pillow again in the hope of finding some elusive spark of energy with which to start the day, I literally jumped up from my bed feeling completely refreshed and ready for anything.
What’s even better is that I know how I did it.
Say it Three Times “Repeated Repetition is Key.”
Repetition is key. Everyone knows it. Repetition is key.
So, when I’m not reading a new book on hypnotherapy or hypnosis, I often return to old ones. Sometimes I find something I’d missed before, a new understanding based on something I’ve read more recently, other times I just find things that I had plain forgotten. When I am revisiting my older tomes, I find that some of the best books written on hypnosis turn out to be the oldest and the shortest.
The work of Emil Coue is no exception to this rule.
There isn’t a hypnotherapist worth his salt who hasn’t read Coue. You may even recognize his most famous piece of phrase-work “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better”.
Coue was the master of “Autosuggestion” – hypnotic suggestions given to complete awake subjects that had remarkable effects. Although he started out using hypnosis, Coue developed his technique to the point that you didn’t need to be in a trance to make use of autosuggestion (in fact he thought it better you weren’t) and that the power to control our own bodies and minds lay within each and every one of us. Coues biographer, Harry Brooks, claimed a success rate of around 93% for Coue’s method.
Coue’s method is based fundamentally on the idea that whatever our we can imagine, within the bounds of reason and nature, our minds will make true. So, if we imagine ourselves as having a headache… we will have one. If we imagine a task will be difficult and time-consuming… it is. Conversely, if we imagine ourselves fit, happy, productive… then we shall be.
Coue is quite clear that it is imagination, though not willpower, which is the key to autosuggestion. In fact willpower, which manifests itself in terms like “This headache but I’m going to tough if out” or “This task is hard but I will succeed” works against us more than it works for us because, by forcing the mind to confront the difficult rather than work around it, the difficult becomes more powerfully manifest.
Auto-suggestion therefore requires a passive approach – not a trace as such, but a relaxed and accepting mind. Repetition is also key – Coue found that repeating images and suggestions helped (or caused) the subconscious to absorb them more readily.
What has this got to do with a good night’s sleep?
Well you might ask… Having returned to Coue’s work, I was struck immediately by how simple and effective the method is compared to some of the work that I have been recently with marginal gains. Coue promises that big changes are possible, and quickly, so was I actually missing a trick by making fractional changes?
I decided to find out.
I started with a simple recording of a script from Coue’s book “Self Mastery Through Conscious AutoSuggestion”. It’s quite a bold script, covering everything from eating healthily to coping with stress and anxiety, general physical health, fighting off illness and injury, getting a good night’s sleep and (of course) getting better, in every way, every day. It’s Coue’s recipe for happiness in some respects.
I listened to the script, which is about 6 minutes long, five times before I went to bed last night. I did some quick chores around the house whilst I listened to it, paying attention to the recording but relying on the chores to divert some of my conscious mind and stop my willpower from kicking in and fighting back against any of the suggestions.
The results surprised me.
When my alarm went off this morning, I sprang out of bed. I’ve been more productive today than yesterday (at least, my to-do list is remarkably shorter), I still feel full of energy even as the night rolls on and I’m itching to come up with my own script, a bit more keyed to my minds and see how far I can go with autosuggestion.
I’ll be back in a few days to share more…