ABC News Story – News In Science – Friday 17 Feb 2006
When faced with a major decision, such as buying a car or a house, it's best to do your homework, then forget about it for a while and let your unconscious churn through the options.
Unconscious deliberation may lead to a more satisfying choice than mere conscious deliberation alone, at least for major decisions.
Conscious deliberation is fine for the less important, more mundane everyday choices like deciding which shampoo or towels to buy, but not for bigger decisions, the report indicates.
Investigators confirm the value of what they call the "deliberation-without-attention" hypothesis in a series of studies on consumer choice.
They did the experiments in the laboratory and in real life among shoppers in department stores.
For example, in a car-shopping experiment, participants read a complex series of facts about cars they were thinking of buying. Immediately afterwards, they were given puzzles to keep their conscious selves busy.
After working on the puzzles, this group of shoppers reported greater satisfaction with their car choice than the people who were given no puzzles and had to decide which car to buy immediately after consciously pondering the facts.
But for making simple decisions, such as choosing between different sets of towels, conscious deliberations were all that was needed to make satisfying choices.
There are several possible reasons why conscious thought sometimes leads to poor judgment, the researchers say. Consciousness has a "low capacity" causing individuals to consider only a subset of relevant information and they may inappropriately weight the importance or relevance of this information.
In contrast, the human subconscious has a higher capacity to integrate more information, which can lead to better choices.
First, gather all the information
"The take-home message is that when you have to make a decision, the first step should be to get all the information necessary for the decision," says author Dr Ap Dijksterhuis.
"Once you have the information, you have to decide, and this is best done with conscious thought for simple decisions, but left to unconscious thought, to 'sleep on it', when the decision is complex."
The novel finding from these studies is the "idea that we can think unconsciously and that unconscious thought is actually superior to conscious thought for complex decisions", the researcher adds.
A Word About Alarm Clocks
Before I continue with a method to make sleep useful let me first explain why you should not use Alarm Clocks, with the emphasis on the word ALARM. The dreams that you have just before you wake up in the morning are stress release dreams. You release stress naturally, when you wake up naturally. Your subconscious mind knows the time, so you need to tell it what time you wish to wake up, naturally. You can experiment with this, if you are used to an alarm clock, then please ensure that it’s one that you can play a tape or a CD of some baroque music at 60 beats to the minute as you wake up. This will help you with your stress levels. Before you go to sleep you decide how many hours you want to sleep.
How to Make Sleep Useful
I have always advocated that the subconscious mind can and will continue to work during the night, but for it to work on information you want, you need to implant the content into it. After you have done that you can wake up with a wonderful new direction the next morning. To use your subconscious mind, you use self talk – your own guided imagery and visualisation. The very first step as you lie in bed is to go to your Peaceful Place and this of course takes you to the relaxed Alpha Brain Wave state.
First Clear The Day
As you go to sleep and before you implant any thoughts that you want into your subconscious mind it is best that you clear the day that you have just been through.
Reflect on the day that just passed. To do that it’s a good idea to go through it in chronological order or however it comes up for you. Your aim is to clear the day of any ill feeling, of any hurt or guilt or anger or resentment; or any judgements that you have placed on yourself about any activity that you were involved with. Judgements could be anything like, wrong, or bad or improper or hurtful or mean or nasty. So just reflect on the day just passed, inside your mind. And when you come to any event on which there is still some anger resentment, or any other negative feeling, then tell yourself there and then, that “I have done the best I could do under the circumstances. And if there is anything that remains to be done I will do it in the future”. And in fact, you could easily use a quick forgiveness process which could be something like, “I forgive myself for ?… ?and then you say what for ?… ?hurting, or feeling guilty or feeling anger, or whatever it is”. And you fo rgive the other person for whatever. Or you could say, I forgive myself for judging myself, or I forgive myself for judging others.
In reflecting on the day, you look at the parts that were really successful, and you feel good about that, it’s time to congratulate yourself. Look at all the things that you did achieve. Did you have time to say, well done? It’s important you know. That little basic self inside of you, the child inside you, that part needs congratulating. So perhaps what you can do, inside your mind… is raise your hand up, right up inside your mind… you raise it right up, into the air and you take it right around behind you, and you give yourself a pat on the back. Well done, you say.
Then Turn to the Next Day
Now your mind can turn to what it is you need to achieve the next day. What activities are you going to have? Picture and imagine those activities taking place. Picture and imagine their successful outcome. Use all your senses, see feel hear smell and taste, and talk to yourself, about the successful outcome. You sense that. It is best to repeat this process telling yourself that it’s easy to achieve. You imagine and visualise using all your senses, knowing that you are going to achieve what you need to achieve on the next day, in a relaxed way, in an easy way. Your subconscious mind, whilst you sleep tonight, will work on solutions to do that.
The next thing to do in the process that I recommend is to be grateful. To be grateful for every challenge that’s ever come into your mind, for every challenge that ever came into your life, grateful for being you and particularly grateful for the learning experiences that result. Inside your mind, you picture and imagine that you are having a gratitude party. You can picture and bring in all the people you have been involved with, whether your experience was positive or negative, it doesn’t matter. You can bring all these people into your mind because you learned lessons. Whatever lessons came out of it, whatever learning experience came out of it are really experiences for your Soul. You moved onwards. So be grateful. Always embrace any challenge as it comes to you, because there will be a result from which will flow a new learning experience.
So Now for Sleep
You clear the day and bring in the next day in your Peaceful Place in the relaxed Alpha state. After that you are ready to go to sleep. The next step is to go deeper into relaxation by going to the Theta brain wave state - the meditation or dream state. And then you’ll drift off, into sleep. Before you do that you must first tell yourself how many hours you’ll be sleeping for, that you’ll have a wonderful, restful sleep and that you’ll wake up, invigorated at whatever time you wish to wake up ?… ?naturally.
To get to the Theta State - the Dream or Meditation State, I recommend the use of colours. Specific Colours. You focus on each colour, starting from the outside of the spectrum, red, and then orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and then violet. The science behind this is that as you bring those colours into your mind, they vibrate according to their wavelength. Red is the coarsest (the biggest wavelength) and then the vibration becomes finer and finer as you go through all those colours, in that order, because the wavelength is getting smaller and smaller. This takes you to deep relaxation - the Theta Dream State, and then you easily drift into a deep, sound, restful sleep (no conscious thinking), where natural healing takes place.
So, enjoy making your sleep easy and useful. If you would like a hand to do this, I have a Peaceful Place CD Number 12 which can help with all these methods.
The result of your wonderful Seminar is "TERRIFIC". Thank you so much, my sleeping pattern is as follows - going to bed - finding my Peaceful Place - "Land of Sleep" - so restful for 8 hours, no need for tossing and turning, as you explained, 8 hours sleep is sufficient - Bed 9.45 pm awake at 6 am. Well, healthy and invigorated. V. V. Sydney
Three weeks before I attended Sandy's seminar I was diagnosed as having "severe sleep apnoea" and by the time the seminar came around I was exhausted. I built my PP on the Saturday and used it to relax me that night and told myself "Tonight I sleep well and wake refreshed in the morning"? AND I DID! I also use my PP to help with poor self esteem and have given two public addresses on arthritis which I never thought I'd do, and I am also working on weight release and have lost 3 kg in 3 weeks. B. L. Melbourne
I have been wallowing in despair for six years and I could not rid myself of that constant feeling of dread, nor could I sleep at night. It took Sandy MacGregor to show me how to help myself. Since using the techniques I have now slept 7 to 8 hours every night. I've had interruptions to my sleep, and still have been able to return to sleep easily. Furthermore, I have just returned from Canada and USA. In years gone by I have needed to take a Rohypnol sleeping tablet on these journeys. This time I slept for 7 hours during the flight over, and on the way back, with no drugs.
My cycle of insomnia began in 1968, following divorce, and having to surrender my four-year-old son to his father. What followed was an endless treadmill of visits to doctors, therapists, hypnotists, relaxation classes, yoga, then the advent of medication — which I took to with great reluctance, and alcohol which I took to with great enthusiasm. I seriously considered a witch-doctor, however none were listed in the Yellow Pages.
On the recommendation of a close friend, I attended the CALM seminar in Brisbane. At last a 27 year cycle — which doctors vowed would stay with me forever — was finally and permanently broken.
This seminar was by no means a temporary fix. I am still experiencing normal sleep patterns 17 months down the track.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you Sandy for restoring me to normality, and now to my astonishment, I am even civil to people in the mornings! K.B. Brisbane
I heard you being interviewed on ABC radio in Adelaide on July 29. I was struck by your evident concern for the well-being of others, and the practical approach you took to the question of what can be done.
For months previously I had been suffering from insomnia, and had used a variety of prescribed medications in a desperate effort to get some sleep. Even so, it was 6 weeks before I became so desperate for restful sleep, that I borrowed? a copy of your book, “Switch On to Your Inner Strength.” For about a week, I read the book daily, and re-read it. Since I didn’t have any of your tapes, and felt uncomfortable asking someone else to read to me, I sat down and talked myself through the transcript that appears in the book.
In this way I established my Peaceful Place and meditated 3 or 4 times a day, every day. There was an immediate benefit, so much so that on the night of Wednesday September 11, I went to bed without taking my sleeping tablet. I didn’t go to sleep — well, not that I noticed — for the whole night, but I meditated. Using the version of a PP I had developed, plus your Induction (Page 68), I relaxed, and went out to meet the sleeplessness that had plagued me for the previous 6 months.
On the following night I again went to bed without taking my sleeping tablet. This time I slept to 01:40! Although I didn’t sleep for the remainder of that night, I did meditate, and ‘woke’ feeling fresher than I had done for ages.
In the subsequent months, sleep continued to be interrupted and turbulent. However, my PP and associated meditation withstood the onslaught and finally, on the night of October 17, I SLEPT RIGHT THROUGH!
Throughout the months that followed, I continued to work on refining my understanding and application of PP and using it to set goals. I was greatly assisted in this by the warm and friendly support provided by CALM personnel in Sydney, attending a 2 day CALM Seminar in Adelaide and your own personal respo nses. M.G. Adelaide
All The Best