The idea of using subliminal messages to improve oneself is an intriguing one. Subliminal messages are images or sounds that are processed subconsciously. Subliminal images are usually flashed briefly (for example in a television commercial), and subliminal audio is usually heard under music. Print ads have also been thought to use subliminal messages by cleverly disguising or hiding images within the main ad, similar to an optical illusion. Although there is no known conclusive evidence that it works, it is apparently thought to be powerful enough that advertisers and musicians over the years have been served with lawsuits claiming that the images and/or sounds caused certain behaviors (usually resulting in self-inflicted harm or violence).

While that is all well and good for ad campaigns and rock stars, what about using subliminal messages for self improvement? And how does it work?

Some experts claim that it can be used for just about anything, from weight loss to improving memory, from boosting self-confidence to ending procrastination. The idea is usually using some type of audio input; you listen to music or sounds and there is a message underneath the sound that the unconscious mind picks up. The theory is that if the unconscious mind believes the change, then the conscious mind will put that change into action. Let's take weight-loss as an example. If someone is struggling to lose weight, then they might listen to a suggestion targeted to the unconscious mind. The suggestion could be to stop eating before becoming full or eat only fruits and vegetables. Then the conscious mind will change the behavior and voila! The individual loses weight!

But does it work?

There is no scientific evidence that proves using subliminal messages will improve a person. I believe it depends on the perception and motivation of the individual. If the person believes that it will work, then it will. If the person approaches the process as a skeptic and doesn't think it will help, then more than likely it won't.

Having said that, I don't think it can hurt. There is another theory that suggests that 'self-talk' is something else that can change negative behaviors into positive ones. I believe that as well, but it is easier said than done! Trying to be conscientious of the thoughts that race through our minds during waking hours can be a daunting task. So it might be easier to listen to a CD specializing in reaching the subconscious mind and listening to self-talk that way.

My Personal Experience

On a personal note, I have listened to subliminal message audio that targets self-sabotage. I tend to want to be successful at something but find myself making excuses, procrastinating, or simply not believing that I can reach whatever goal I set. I've been listening to the CD for a month now; in the morning before I fully wake up, and at night as I fall asleep. (I tried playing it on a loop so I can listen to it all night, but that just didn't work for me…at some point I need some quiet to fall asleep.)

After about a month of consistently listening, I do feel more motivated. I find myself being more organized and task-oriented to set goals, whereas before that was too scary for me. Honestly, I don't know if this new mindset came from the subliminal messages or the fact that I have been more aware of what I want to accomplish so I'm more determined to do it. I have to say that I enjoy the CD regardless. I like the relaxing sounds; they help me relax and fall asleep faster, and they are a great way to wake up and begin a new day.

If you are curious and would like to try it for yourself, I suggest you do research and find a reputable website, preferably one that offers a money-back guarantee and/or a sample that you can listen to before you buy.

I would like to experiment further, so I am going to purchase a CD targeted to enjoying exercise. I really hate to exercise and I would like to be in a mindset where I will enjoy it. I feel that if I like to exercise then I will do it more consistently. In a month or two I will write another article about the experience and with results.