The Power of Self Suggestion

So here’s the mystery, why have I been so gloomy lately?

I am pretty sure there are several things contributing to this, one of which is that I haven’t been taking the time to laugh for no reason.  It also seems harder to do so, which I think stems from the spiral effect of “feeling down” – the more you feel down, the less you feel like laughing (especially for no reason), the worse you feel, and so on.

I will now take a moment while writing this (since my awareness is on this lack of laughing) to actually take a moment and laugh.

There, I feel better already.

There have been other reasons why I’ve been “down”, I’ve been sick, which does not contribute well to laughing (when you just end up coughing), but I think the main reason I’ve been feeling down is because I’ve be subconsciously TELLING myself to be down.

Why would I do such a thing you ask?

I volunteered.

I got a part in my local theatre’s production of Frankenstein.  I am in fact playing Dr. Victor Frankenstein himself!

So that was definitely good news, and I was happy about that (and still am actually), but here’s what I have been finding.

As I memorize my lines (saying them over and over and over again to make sure they are ingrained in my subconscious) I read lines like “my mood varies between deep depression and melancholy” and I act out such emotions at rehearsal over and over and over again.

Now, this is just acting right?

Well yes, it is, but what I know about training yourself for new behaviours and feelings is that repeating a phrase over and over and over again to yourself (self-suggestion, also known as autosuggestion) is a powerful way of changing how you feel.  Also ACTING like you are feeling a certain way, is a further means of convincing your mind and body that you ARE that way.

This realization is at the same time HUGE and annoying.

HUGE because now I have actually experienced first hand how these things work.  Up until now I’ve been working around this, but have found it to be a slippery thing to really pin down.

Which is another reason why this is HUGE, because I’ve realized that the way I need to be doing this, and working with my clients through behaviour change is the same way I work at memorizing a part in a play!

I’ve tried affirmations before, even Tony Robins’ incantations, but have found them lacking, now I know why! Because I haven’t been saying them enough!

These lines I’m memorizing I say several times in a row, over and over a few times a day, then again the next day, to make sure I remember them.

If you’ve ever done an affirmation by just saying it once in the morning and once before bed, all you’re really doing is just saying it.

You’ve got to be saying it like you are trying to memorize it, trying to ingrain it forever into your subconsciousness, then maybe you’ll start to see some effects.  Also you need to set aside some time in the day to “act it out” actually say those lines while ACTING like you are feeling that way.

So, yeah, this is a big thing for me.

And it’s annoying, because for the next three months I am now fully aware that I am going to be ingraining all this depression and melancholy into my head.  Great for the part, not so great for a laughter coach!

So thus begins the experiment of can I create a counter message that I ingrain in my head that will allow me to joyous and laughing during the day, while I am being the dour and depressed Dr. by night.

I know the brain is an amazing thing, lets give this a try.

Until the next time, keep laughing, and also repeatedly telling yourself how happy you are (and acting like it)!

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