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Day by day, in every way

Posted on 18 October, 2013 at 20:35

Emile Coué, one of the pioneers of autosuggestive techniques, and someone who preferred to avoid the 'sleep' side of hypnosis, wrote the following:


Every morning before getting up and every evening as soon as you are in bed, shut your eyes, and repeat twenty times in succession, moving your lips (this is indispensable), and counting mechanically on a long string with twenty knots, the following phrase: "Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better". Do not think of anything particular, as the words "in every way" apply to everything.


Make this autosuggestion with confidence, with faith, with the certainty of obtaining what you want. The greater the conviction, the greater and the more rapid will be the results obtained.


Further, every time in the course of the day or night that you feel any distress physical or mental, immediately affirm to yourself that you will not consciously contribute to it, and that you are going to make it disappear; then isolate yourself as much as possible, shut your eyes, and passing your hand over your forehead, if it is something mental, or over the part which is painful, if it is something physical, repeat extremely quickly, moving your lips, the words: "It is going, it is going ", etc., etc., as long as it may be necessary. With a little practice the physical or mental distress will have vanished in 20 to 25 seconds. Begin again whenever it is necessary. Avoid carefully any effort in practising autosuggestion.


Coué, Emile - Self Mastery Through Conscious Autosuggestion, pp. 107-8. (Original 1922)


There are a number of very useful tips to take away even from this short extract. Coué's famous phrase, "Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better" has been used and adapted many thousands of times over the years. This is a short, memorable and positive 'autosuggestion' that is applicable to almost any goal we might have, whether it is health-related or otherwise. We can easily make up our own suggestions however, to make them specific and personal to our own needs and way of expressing ourselves. Coué's 'Do not think of anything in particular' is fine for achieving a positive state of mind about things in general, but I think it is also important to concentrate on what specifically you wish to achieve.


It is good to have the suggestion short and to the point, and the rhythm and rhyme to Coué's suggestion above not only helps its memorability, but also makes it quicker and more easy for it to become instinctive and to enter the rhythm of the body as we say it.


Confidence, faith, certainty - these are key elements of the attitude that you need. Believe in what you're doing! And remember the principle: Expectation influences perception. Expectation also influences results.


Daily practice and repetition are essential, at least at the beginning. However, I think we should take care with Coué's recommendation, for the second autosuggestion above, to 'repeat extremely quickly...."it is going, it is going," etc....' I think his aim was to remove all possible distractions, and produce a kind of effortless hypnotic flow. However, mindless repetition is not going to produce the real brain changes that occur with repeatedly sounding the sentence internally or externally while putting one's attention on the significance of the words and the sensations in the body. We should take the word conscious in the 'conscious autosuggestion' part of the title of Coué's book more seriously than Coué himself I believe.


Coué's statement about the importance of moving the lips while repeating this suggestion to oneself is interesting. Here movement is combined with the thought, adding to its strength. However, there will be times during the day when in the company of others when you may wish to keep things private. You can still maintain it as a powerful suggestion without the moving of the lips, as long as you seek to hear with your 'inner ear' the sounding and resounding of the words within your body. Don't be concerned if you don't seem to achieve this much at first - simply allow it to happen and to grow in strength.


Likewise, the fingering of the twenty knots on the string engages movement, and there is also the sensation of the texture of the string. The usefulness of this physical addition to the mental aspect of the autosuggestion is difficult to over-emphasise. This fingering of knots while repeating to oneself the autosuggestion is similar to the age-old use of prayer ropes and prayer beads or rosaries by many religious traditions. One's concentration on the thought or prayer is intensified by this action, as well as providing a convenient method of counting.


The last sentence in the extract above is, 'Avoid carefully any effort in practising autosuggestion.' This avoids the risk of a self-defeating downward spiral of anxious, guilt-ridden striving. Relaxed, pleasurable effortlessness of action suggests an engagement with powerful subconscious resources that will bring you nearer to your goal.


CM

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