Do you have unexplained anxiety, fatigue or pain? Do you find you somehow sabotage all your best intentions? These are just a few of the things that can happen when your subconscious mind is running the show!

There are many rules of the mind and, if you don’t know them, they can cause all sorts of mayhem. The good news is you can retrain your subconscious so that you feel calm, cheerful, energised, healthy, and able to stay on track to reach your goals. Let’s take three of these rules – your subconscious mind: hates you to lose things, believes what you tell it, and hates contradictions – and see how to use them to your advantage.

Your subconscious mind hates you to lose things

If you have something you wish to see the back of, don’t ‘own’ it, as your mind tries to hold onto something it thinks it is losing. There are two sub-rules here: avoid negative words and avoid owning words. Firstly, for example, if you keep saying, “I must lose weight!”, your subconscious will panic and do all it can to hold onto your excess fat by sabotaging your weight loss efforts and, before you know it, you’re raiding the cake tin yet again. Instead, say things like, “I’m allowing my body to use up my fat stores, just like it’s designed to do” or, “I’m becoming leaner each day” and your mind will allow you to focus on eating healthy foods and not snacking. You can likewise change, “I must fall asleep” to “sleep is gently wrapping around me” and “I must stop drinking all that wine” to “I choose to drink herbal tea instead”.

Secondly, if you own a problem, your subconscious will hold onto it like superglue, so remove your ‘self’ from the issue. For example, when you are talking about an issue you have, drop the word ‘my’: change “my fat” to “thefat”, “my insomnia” to “the insomnia” and “my wine need” to “the wine need”.Of course, you may be a perfect weight, not have a problem sleeping and dislike herbal tea, but you get the gist – just study the way you speak to yourself, change negatives to positives and start seeing your problems as separate things to ‘you’. It’s amazing what differences can be made with this simple process!

Your subconscious mind believes what you tell it

You may have been brought up being told not to lie, so when is it OK to do just that? It’s when you lie to yourself. Why? Well, here’s the good bit: your mind believes the words and pictures you tell it. This means you can use your lies for your benefit. For example, do you ever find yourself saying things like, “I am useless, forgetful, stupid, tired, weak and unable to make nice friends”? If so, imagine those phrases floating by on bits of paper and grab them out of the air. Now screw them into tight balls and dispose of them in the method of your choice (I like to imagine setting fire to them) and then tell your mind better things like, “I am enough, I have a phenomenal memory and brilliant skills! I am energised and strong! I can attract the friends I want!” You are amazing and your mind needs to take that on board, so do this several times a day, until it becomes your new truth, and then regularly check you’re staying on the right track.

There is a caveat to the above: lying to yourself in order to squash down something you really need to deal with will simply come back as anxiety, ill health or self-sabotage, so don’t do it; it’s just not worth it. Instead, you can start the process of letting the issue go by first acknowledging it and then adding a positive. Say, for example:” Yes, I am anxious, and I’m also resilient”; “Yes, I am jittery, and I have phenomenal coping skills”; “Yes, I am tired, and I have amazing skills to help me through until I can rest”; “Yes, I am scared, and I can choose to feel excited”.

Your subconscious mind hates contradictions

If you find you keeping having the same, looping conversation, feel as if you’re in ‘two minds’ or are anxious without a discernible cause, this can be because you have a contradiction going on inside you. Your mind always wants to do what you desire, so cannot cope well with the conflict! For example, say you are trying to go down a clothes size and you ‘know’ you shouldn’t eat your favourite pizza so often – but one part of you is saying, “I mustn’t have pizza until next week” and another part is retorting, “But I love pizza, and I want some now!” Equally, one part of you may be saying, “I must go running to get fitter” and another, squashed down part says, “Waah! I hate running!”We can also have this happening at an even more subconscious level. For example, say you are introverted by nature but you have to go to a network meeting, your thoughts will be divided between, “I really don’t want to go” and, “I must go”; as a result, you can feel unsettled and maybe quite tetchy. Then your mind, which just wants to look after you and keep you happy, will leap into help mode and suddenly you’ve eaten that pizza to satisfy your urge, you’ve sprained your ankle so you can’t run, and you’ve developed a nasty sore throat so you can’t make the event.

It is so much easier to take action when you can identify what is going in inside so when you start feeling anxious and before your mind starts ‘helping’, separate the emotions from your thoughts by doing a few ‘square breaths’: breathe in for four seconds, hold for four, breath out for four, and hold for four. Then thank your mind for the signal and ask it what the message or conflict is that it’s trying to tell you about. The next steps are up to you; for example, you may throw the pizza away or you may eat it – but now it’s your conscious choice and you’ll feel better for it. If you can’t access your subconscious, talking therapies, meditation and hypnosis(self-hypnosis or with a therapist) can all help – but don’t wait for that: start talking to your mind now! Remember, you are enough, and you are perfect, phenomenal, brilliant, skilled, resilient, and fantastic