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Did You Know There an Elephant in Your Head Your mind is divided into two parts: the conscious and the subconscious. Both parts are responsible for thoughts and beliefs that lead you to feel or act in certain ways. The difference between them, however, is that we are aware of what our conscious mind is thinking, but not what our subconscious is thinking. The relationship between the two parts can be described like a man riding on an elephant, to use Buddha's vivid analogy. The man steers and directs the elephant, and because of this he believes that he is in control. And this is true-granted that the elephant obeys his commands. But sometimes, the elephant veers off and disregards the man's commands, and when this happens it is suddenly the man who is being "taken for a ride." Similarly, sometimes our subconscious acts in ways that go against our best interests. Hypnotherapy is used in order to "tame" your subconscious and regain control over you emotions and habits. If you are having problems imagining your subconscious, think of it this way: Are you aware of your breathing? Probably not, until I pointed it out. What about the feeling of your sock around your foot? Or the hum of the computer as you read this? Do you have to concentrate on your heart in order to keep it beating? All of these things are observed by or controlled by your subconscious. Your subconscious is absorbing copious amounts of information at all times without you being aware of it, filtering out the unimportant bits so that your conscious mind can focus on what needs to be dealt with at the present time. Consequently, your subconscious holds significantly more information than your conscious mind does. If your mind is an iceberg, then the conscious part is the little tip that is poking out of the ocean and your subconscious is the gigantic mass that remains submerged underwater. Furthermore, your subconscious is not only mechanical but intelligent as well. This means that it makes links between observations and forms opinions and beliefs. It is these subconscious thoughts that cause you to act or feel in ways that you do not (consciously) understand. The subconscious mind isn't inherently good or bad, but it can serve as a friend or adversary. Let's say that a smoker has gotten into the habit of smoking a cigarette every time he is in a stressful situation. The cigarette helps him to calm down and become focused in order to deal with whatever is at hand. As a result, he doesn't think he could ever quit smoking successfully--after all, how would he cope with stress? As you can see, he is only searching for answers in his conscious mind. "Cigarette equals stress reduction, therefore no cigarette equals high stress levels." However, what he has forgotten is that for the first fifteen or so years of his life, he never needed a cigarette to help him through a situation. As a child and young teenager, he had managed to calm himself down, focus and clear his head without ever needing to smoke. Furthermore, this ability of being able to handle anxiety nicotine-free remains within his subconscious. Because it can be difficult for him to access this ability on his own, hypnosis can help. Hypnosis is an excellent tool to uncover information that lies buried within your subconscious. Using hypnotic techniques, the smoker can vividly remember how he used to react in stressful situations before cigarettes entered his life. In doing so, he can connect with his former mindset in a way which will enable him to once again combat stress and anxiety without needing to have a cigarette. Furthermore, now that he has tapped into his subconscious and is able to withdraw information, he can discover what other underlying desires he has that are satisfied by smoking and how he can quench them in other ways. Of course, hypnosis can be used for more than just smoking cessation, or losing weight, or any sort of habitual or behavioral adjustments. As previously mentioned, our subconscious is just as much responsible for the way we feel as it is for the way we act. Unexplained fears or phobias, depression or anxiety, even the inability to become motivated and accomplish our desired goal--we do not think, feel or act a certain way "just because." Instead, there is a reason behind it. And if this reason does not come clearly to our minds, that is because it is located in our subconscious. With hypnotherapy, we can not only understand our seemingly irrational thoughts or actions, but we can even take the necessary steps to change our subconscious ideas into thoughts that will help us to lead happier, more successful lives.