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What exactly are subliminals and how do they work?

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What exactly are subliminals and how do they work?

Subliminals are the latest trend in the self-help space. People say positive affirmations in subliminal videos can lead to self-improvement but is it true?

People across the world are tuning into YouTube, to consume ‘subliminals’, for self-improvement. These video or audio messages, set to rhythmic music and positive affirmations, are known to boost the mood, and motivate its consumers.

As per a study by Neuroscience of Consciousness, subliminal messaging could influence decision making up to 25 minutes after the message is presented.

How do subliminals work?

These messages act as stimuli, in the form of sounds or images. Another feature is that subliminals are often presented as faint or quick audio-video messages, which make them hard to perceive. The idea is to subliminally (existing or functioning below the threshold of consciousness) stimulate the brain, and positively impact thoughts and behavior

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Subliminals are often used to boost morale, reduce stress levels, quit smoking, and manage weight.

happiness impact on your body
Subliminals can bring about feelings of positivity! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Key elements of subliminals

Most subliminals consist of positive affirmations, accompanied by music in the form of binaural beats.

Positive affirmations:

As per research published by US National Library of Medicine, positive affirmations are an expression that is repeated, often without thinking about it, used to introduce to the subconscious with a thought that can motivate you. It helps to remind you of your positive attributes and provide the confidence needed to accomplish goals.

Subliminals contain positive affirmations that are concise, and promote visualization as they are repeated. Affirmations should preferably be in the present tense, for example, “I am a winner”, “I will stop smoking”, or “I will not be defeated by negative criticism.” Visualization provides a way to implant pictures in your subconscious that complement the words that are repeated.

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subliminals
Tuning in to subliminals will lead to self-improvement. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Music:

Music, in general, has a positive effect on one’s stress levels. As per research published by the journal The Arts in Psychotherapy, music has the ability to lower cortisol levels, thereby reducing stress. Rhythmic beats such as binaural beats, are especially helpful to induce a relaxing effect on the mind. These beats aid in slowing the pulse and heart rate, lower blood pressure, and decrease the levels of stress hormones.

A number of subliminals use binaural beats, which create an auditory illusion, caused by listening to two tones of music with slightly different frequency, one in each ear. This difference in frequencies creates an illusion of a third sound, which is essentially a rhythmic beat.

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What to be careful of when it comes to subliminals?

There are some bizarre subliminals which claim to help change the eye colour, increase the height, or improve performance in exams. One should be wary of such subliminals.

Hence, learn to set and manage your expectations, when it comes to using subliminals. While the individual components of subliminals, such as positive affirmations and music, are associated with reducing stress and improving morale, there is currently no evidence to suggest that they are helpful for any other health, wellness, or educational applications.

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