I thought that I had a lot of ‘tools in the toolbox’ which I could draw upon and use. I’d been a yoga instructor for 25 years and I knew the postures, breathing practices and meditations that still the mind and soothe the nervous system. It wasn’t until I was swamped with depressive thoughts that I realized that all these tools were not working for me, so I began to look for other practices that might help. It was then I sought out hypnosis…and found ways to hack the mind.

I learned that in order to maintain a ‘healthy’ state of being, it’s not just about the physiology. Equally important is consciously reinforcing positive ‘programs’ of the mind. It was the part of my ‘health regime’ that I wasn’t paying attention to, and I started to feel fatigued and run down.

I love the quote from geneticist Dr Bruce Lipton, who says that “our biography becomes our biology”. How could the story we tell ourselves exert such a powerful influence over our bodily systems? As a scientist looking at stem-cells, he realized that environmental influences had the potential to switch on or switch off certain genes. This revelation occurred to him when he was contemplating the same genetic material in several petrie dishes. He observed that when he added a certain amount of protein to one, or glucose to another, they all began to develop DIFFERENT characteristics, even though this was exactly the same donor genetic material. He understood that contrary to the belief that your genes dictate your health outcome, if one’s external environment is able to affect changes in the cells, then wouldn’t this be the same as one’s inner environment ie through thoughts and feelings? I recognized the same chemical soup which was being concocted in me, and meant I was having problems focusing, getting motivated, and lifting my head off my pillow.

The Power of Imagination

I came to understand that even when a person’s mind imagines an event, the same chemicals are released into the bloodstream, as if the very tangible, physical event is taking place around them. When we replay a scene over and over, we’re in effect, re-creating the same bio-chemical responses in the body. The implications, therefore are profound:  it’s our inner environment that we have control over – the habitual thoughts we think and feelings we feel. That’s a massive wake up call – realising that we’re not victims to our thoughts and feelings. We can take responsibility for them, and wield the power to change our own mind.

To understand more deeply, we need to look at the way the mind operates…

How does the mind work?

As human beings, when we are awake, we use this mind, the one we are using right now to read this page, our conscious mind. Our conscious mind is formed through influence of the family you were born into, their beliefs, the culture and traditions, and the community around us. It starts to form when people or circumstances give us information. It’s the programming that humanity imprints on you.

When we are born, we do not have a conscious mind. The conscious mind develops during childhood as it learns through repetition and experience. Some of those programs you received were very loving, positive and empowering. However, others were fear-based, disempowering and negatively oriented programs – ones you may recognize as ‘knee-jerk’ reactions that have not necessarily been triggered by a conscious thought.

We could liken these programs to the software on your computer. The conscious mind may be running from the positive, smooth operating system, or it could be overrun by the negative or VIRAL software which can crash the computer. This happens when we identify with negative thoughts. The viral mind is critical and judgemental with its negative thoughts of stress, worry, fear, blame, criticism. Especially criticism of self. Criticism of self creates an inner war, and is actually the most damaging thing a person can do to themselves. And yes, this was the program playing out for me at the time.

Our subconscious mind is the databank of information which stores all our experiences from the time we came into this world to present day. It records everything. Some would say that includes our soul’s experiences of different incarnations. (Another topic to explore!). By the term ‘SUB-conscious’ you might think as though it’s inferior to the conscious mind. In fact, it’s the part that’s really in charge, and depending on what programs are running, it’s through that filter that you perceive your world.

Positive and Negative Programs

When we are operating from our positive program, we are representing our true self – and we all believe in our hearts that we are positive beings, right? Positive thoughts and feelings are those that bring you into alignment with mind, body and spirit. When you identify with the positive you feel good and uplifted and everything flows; there is an ease with everything you do. It’s in these moments when inspiration and creativity flow through you. Positive thinking changes our energy field and when we are strong energetically, we create feel-good hormones, we increase our frequency, and therefore access better versions of our lives – we have better health, better relationships with ourselves and with others.

When we operate from the negative programs, we identify with the negative thoughts of stress, fear and criticism, which creates pain and suffering and leads to all sorts of health issues. When this happens, you are identifying with the negative ego mind; the false self; the destructive mind; the distorted thoughts; the limited mind and its false assumptions: THE LIES. As a result, we experience depression, anxiety, insomnia and the whole gamut of negative feelings and dis-ease. Ah-huh. That was the spiral I was in, and I felt very overwhelmed.

When we act out of those false assumptions, our STRESS hormones increase, and it’s the stress hormones that create a lot of free-radical damage in the body. Thus, our thoughts and feelings influence the immune system – our inner environment. “Our biography (ie the stories we tell ourselves and others) becomes our biology”

So, HOW to hack the viral mind? First we need to ‘step out of our habitual self’. What I mean by that is to change your state of being. And when you’re feeling really low, that can be challenging. Just getting out of bed can feel like a monumental task. But there are many ways of interrupting the habit mind, and if you, like me can put one foot in front of the other, you can slowly emerge from the brain fog and learn tools to hack the viral mind.