Does anyone have a suggestion?
If so, put it in the suggestion box.

The subconscious mind is like a suggestion box. Each day, it takes in hundreds of subtle suggestions, some positive, some negative, placed there by ourselves and others. Unfor-tunately, the greater number of these tend to be negative, and without the use of some type of filter, in this case your awareness shield, your mind can become cluttered with nega-tive suggestions that can create an unwanted response.
We, as humans, are highly suggestible beings. We re-spond to suggestions, from others and from ourselves, hundreds of times each day. Let me give you an example: I want you to picture a lemon. Notice the bright yellow skin and the smooth texture. As you cut into it, some of the juice squirts out, and you smell the tangy aroma. Now imagine lift-ing it to your mouth. You can really smell the tartness now, and as you bite into it, you can feel that squeaky sensation of your teeth against the pulp. You begin to suck the lemon, and the sour juice fills your mouth. As you read this example and thought about the lemon, did you notice your mouth watering a little? If so, you’re not alone. Most people, at the mere sug-gestion of biting into a lemon, will experience the physical response of increased saliva.
Now, recall the altered states of consciousness and how we drift in and out of these throughout the day, unaware that we are doing it. While in an altered state, we are more recep-tive to suggestions, whether they are good or bad. If we accept the suggestion, we respond to it. In this way, we are hypnotized and not even aware of what is happening. An ex-ample of this is when children are told to eat everything on their plate because there are starving children in the world and it’s a sin to waste food. That’s a powerful suggestion. It gives the children a feeling of guilt for not eating, as if de-vouring everything on their plate would have an impact on world hunger! When these children become adults, they still respond to that old suggestion. Even though they feel full halfway through the meal, they continue eating because they don’t want to be wasteful. I know many mothers who eat the leftover food on their child’s plate because they don’t feel right about throwing it away. Have you ever been cleaning the kitchen after a meal and found a little bit of food left in the pot? It’s not enough to save for another meal, but instead of throwing it out, you eat it even though you’re not hungry, simply because you feel guilty about wasting good food. I ask my clients this question: What would you rather do? Scrape that food into the garbage can and never see it again, or eat it and carry it with you for the rest of your life?
As a child, did your mother or grandmother ever say, “Get out of the rain; you’re going to get sick” or maybe “You’re soaking wet; you’re going to catch a cold”? Recently someone told me, “I got caught in the rain yesterday and got soaking wet. I just knew I was going to get a cold, and sure enough, when I woke up this morning my nose was blocked and I had a sore throat.” “Wait a minute,” I said. “Do you take baths or showers?” She responded indignantly, “Of course, every day!” “And when you do,” I asked, “do you get wet?” “Yeah, sure.” “Then how is it you don’t get colds every day?”
Simply getting wet will not cause people to catch a cold. If they do, they were probably exposed to the cold virus days earlier, or perhaps, as in this case, it was a response to an old suggestion. Their subconscious had held on to that suggestion and, in the right situation, responded to it. Re-member, they “just knew” they were going to catch a cold, and their mind met that expectation.
I had someone tell me, “It never fails. Every year, at the first sign of winter, I end up with a cold.” It’s as if the cold germ were sitting on their shoulder, waiting for the first sign of winter, to jump into their body and cause misery.
Doesn’t it make you wonder how many things are ac-tually genetic and how many are just powerful suggestions that have been passed down through the generations? “Anger runs in our family. My father had a really bad temper and so did his dad.” “I’ll always be fat because my parents were overweight.” “My kids are just like me. I always had trouble in math and they do too.”
It reminds me of the story of the young woman who got married. She wanted to cook a pot roast for her husband and she remembered her mother’s recipe. Her mother had taught her as a child how to cook a roast. It was always tender and delicious. So she used a cast iron pot, just like her mother. She seasoned it with pepper, garlic and onions, just like her mother. And then, before she placed the meat in the pot, she cut a piece off of each end, just the way her mother did. It came out wonderful, but she was curious about something and called her mother. “Mom, I made a roast just like you taught me, but there’s something I don’t understand. Why do you cut off the ends of the roast before you cook it?” “Well, honey, that’s the way my mom taught me to do it. I think it makes it tender.” Still curious, the girl called her grandmother. “Grandma, Mom taught me to cook a roast. She always cut the ends off the roast and she said that you did the same thing. I was just wondering why.” “Well, child, I don’t know why your mother did it, but I always cut the ends off because my pot was too small.”
Simple suggestions have a way of altering our lives, and unfortunately, many in the health care profession do not realize the power of a suggestion. Without realizing it, some of these professionals give their patients negative suggestions that have adverse effects on their health and recovery. We put doctors on a pedestal. They are the authority, and if the doctor says it, it must be true. Just think about the well-meant negative suggestions that doctors sometimes give to patients: “There’s no hope.” “You have less than six months to live.” “You have to face the facts and realize that nothing can be done.” These suggestions can cause chemical reactions in the body that are harmful. Let’s say I walk into any doctor’s of-fice and tell them, “I’m sorry. Your family has been in a terrible automobile accident and they were seriously injured.” Even though this statement isn’t true, they would experience panic, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and other physical and emotional changes that would have a negative effect on their body. If health care professionals would real-ize the importance of using the mind in conjunction with medicine, they could use a patient’s suggestibility to aid in their recovery and peace of mind. If you’re not using the mind in the healing process, it’s like having your star quar-terback in the Super Bowl just sitting on the sidelines.
Children are extremely suggestible. Remember, their analytical thought process is not fully developed, so sugges-tions are readily accepted by their subconscious, and as adults they will still respond to them. You might say they were hypnotized when those suggestions were given to them. Many times I tell my clients that when I help them break free from negative suggestions, I am not so much hypnotizing them as I am de-hypnotizing them!
I remember hearing a story of a little girl who went to her mother and asked, “Mommy, am I an Indian?” “No, ho-ney, you’re not.” “Are you sure I’m not an Indian?” “Yes, you are not an Indian,” her mother replied. “But I want to be an Indian!” the little girl insisted. “Why do you want to be an Indian?” the mother asked. “Because I heard about these full-blooded Indians and I want to be full-blooded.”
A similar story someone shared with me is about a little boy who excitedly told his mom that God made the world in six days with only His left hand. She agreed that the Bible says that God created the world in six days, but how did he know that God only used His left hand? To which he de-clared, “Well, He must have because I heard Jesus was sitting on His right hand.”
These stories illustrate how children perceive things differently. Remember, the subconscious mind accepts things literally.
If you don’t believe in the power of suggestion, just look at the billions of dollars that are spent on advertising each year. This is an industry that thrives on our suggestibili-ty. Think of all the commercials and how they are designed to suggest that you need a certain product to feel better about yourself or to be happy. What better way to influence you than to feed you these suggestions while you are in an altered state, such as blankly staring at a television screen? You are more receptive to them then.
That’s one reason why it is dangerous for children to watch television unsupervised for hours at a time. Have you ever watched a child looking at television? They sit, slack-jawed, staring intently at the screen, absorbing everything they see. If you think that they’re not in a deep altered state, try calling their name and see how long it takes them to an-swer you. Make it a point to sit down by yourself and watch a few hours of television, and be aware of how many incidents of violence, immorality, greed and negative behavior you see, even in animated cartoons and video games. These images and suggestions are going, unchecked, right into your child’s subconscious and forming the basis for their belief system and personality. It’s scary, isn’t it?
It isn’t only the children who are affected by these neg-ative influences. We adults also absorb these violent images, and if we don’t use control and reject these negative sugges-tions, we too will respond to them. Just look at the increased violence in our society. Road rage is a prime example of this. As parents, it is our responsibility to take control over these negative influences on our children. Limit their expo-sure to negative behavior. Let them watch television, but make sure it has educational value, or better yet, sit down as a family and watch programs or movies that teach morals or show positive values, such as respect and compassion. Then these will be the imprints and impressions that fill their sub-conscious and help them become more positive individuals.
I believe that it is important to start controlling these imprints and impressions even earlier, when the child is still in the womb. It has been documented that the fetus will re-spond to the emotions of the mother. If the mother watches a violent movie and feels fear, anxiety and anger, doesn’t it make sense that the fetus will respond to these emotions also? It’s a sobering thought when you realize the profound influence you have on the development of your children.
Negative suggestions don’t always come from someone else. Sometimes we give ourselves subtle suggestions that can be harmful to us. After one of my seminars, a woman came up to me. She was bent over a walker and in a soft voice asked, pitifully, “Dr. Bauer, will you please pray for my arthritis?” I told her, “No ma’am.” She was shocked at my reply and I said, “I will pray for you but let me explain some-thing first. If you had a dollar bill you could go around and tell people, ‘This is my dollar.’ And you would be right. It would be yours. But if you gave it to me, it would no longer belong to you. You could no longer call it my dollar because you gave it to me. When you use the word my, you’re claim-ing it as your own. If you don’t want the illness, give it to God and quit saying my arthritis.”
Later on during the reception, I saw her again. This time she was standing taller and moving around better. Smiling, she told my wife, “I feel so much better. I never realized what I’d been telling myself. I’ve decided to give it to God because I don’t want it.”
Using “my” before an illness is a subtle suggestion to yourself that the illness belongs to you—“my cancer,” “my asthma,” “my diabetes,” and the list goes on. Quit claiming it and reject the suggestion.
Suggestions can also be nonverbal. Waving, motioning and pointing are all nonverbal suggestions. Another good ex-ample is the yawn. Next time you yawn, notice how many people around you will suddenly do the same thing. Nonver-bal suggestions, as well as verbal ones, can cause chemical reactions within the body. If you don’t believe this, notice what happens next time you’re in traffic and someone flips you the finger. They don’t have to say a word, but the simple motioning of the finger can cause the blood to rush to your face; you become agitated and soon you’ve opened up a Pandora’s box of unwanted responses. Why? Because you accepted the suggestion and reacted to it. When someone flips me the finger, I turn it around. I answer with another nonverbal suggestion, the okay sign. I know they’re just tell-ing me I’m number one in their book, and I answer, that’s okay by me.
Only a small percentage of what we communicate is done through actual words. The rest of our communication is done through eye contact, tone of voice, facial expression, body language, mannerisms and even telepathically. Haven’t you ever been talking with someone and knew what they were going to say before they said it?
I know many people who wear their emotions on their sleeve. You can tell at a glance whether they’re happy, sad, depressed or just plain aggravated; they don’t have to say a word. These are all forms of nonverbal suggestions.
It is important for us to become aware of the sugges-tions, both verbal and nonverbal, that we give to other people. Are they negative or positive? And even more impor-tantly, what suggestions are we giving to ourselves? Remember, our words have side effects, just like medication. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasing words are a honeycomb, sweet to the taste and healing to the body.” And Proverbs 12:25 states, “Anxiety in a man’s heart depresses it, but a kindly word makes it glad.”
I remember the story of a group of frogs that were trav-eling through the woods, when two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep it was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead.
Finally, one of the frogs in the pit took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.
The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out.
When he got out, the other frogs said, “Didn’t you hear us?” The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.
This story teaches two lessons. There is power of life and death in the tongue. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day. A destructive word to someone who is down can be what it takes to kill them. So from this day forward, think before you speak and be careful of what other frogs tell you.
Many times we fail to realize that everything we do in this life has a ripple effect. Each thought and suggestion, whether positive or negative, each act, whether kind or unkind, each word that’s uttered from our lips and each acted-out emotion, all have the same effect as dropping a tiny pebble into the smooth surface of a lake. The ripples from that action do not remain at the point of origin, but continually spread farther and farther outward. You may never know the true impact that a simple smile or kind word can have on others, but its effects can be far-reaching.

Author's Bio: 

Louis P. Bauer, Ph.D. is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist.
Author of the book: "A Journey to Inner Healing: Understanding the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection."
Dr. Bauer was approved by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing for CEU credits.
Member National Society of Clinical Hypnotherapists.
Member of International Association of Counselors and Therapists.
Past Member of the Board of Directors of the St. Tammany Parish Unit of the American Cancer Society, 1993-1994.
Dr. Bauer has a private practice in Slidell and has been a resident of Slidell, La. for twenty seven years.
Dr. Bauer has successfully helped people overcome the smoking habit, reduce weight, and other conditions such as depression, insomnia, fears and phobias, just to name a few.
Conducts a one day workshop that is therapeutically designed to help a person to relieve stress, eliminate anxiety, overcome depression and build self confidence.