We’ve all heard of hypnosis and how it can be used to control someone’s mind. But what many people don’t realize is that the power of suggestion can be just as strong outside of hypnosis. In fact, the things we hear on a daily basis can influence our thoughts and actions in ways we may not even be aware of.
Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? Or found yourself humming a tune you heard earlier in the day without even realizing it? That’s the power of suggestion at work. When we’re constantly bombarded with messages, it’s only natural for some of them to stick with us. And depending on what those messages are, they can have a lasting impact on our lives.
Here’s a closer look at the power of suggestion and how it can influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
What is the Power of Suggestion?
NLP master practitioners from NLP Hypnosis Institute define it as a fascinating phenomenon that occurs when someone is influenced to do or believe something based on suggestions from others.
The power of suggestion can be used for good or for ill, and it can be very difficult to resist. Perhaps the most famous example of the power of suggestion is the Asch conformity experiment, in which participants were asked to match the length of lines on cards. The catch was that all but one participant was given wrong answers, and the pressure to conform was too much for many people.
The power of suggestion can also be seen in more everyday situations, such as when people are pressured into buying something they don’t really want or when they believe false rumours about someone. It’s important to be aware of the power of suggestion so that you can resist it when necessary.
How does it work?
The power of suggestion is an interesting phenomenon that can have a profound effect on our behaviour. Essentially, the power of suggestion occurs when we are influenced by someone else’s suggestion, often without even realizing it.
For example, if you are talking to a friend about a new restaurant that you want to try, they may suggest that you order chicken parmesan. Even though you were planning on ordering something else, the fact that your friend recommended the chicken parmesan may cause you to change your order. In a similar vein, advertisers often use the power of suggestion to influence our purchase decisions. For example, if you see an ad for a new car that says “starting at $19,999,” you may be more likely to buy the car than if the ad said “starting at $20,000.”
The power of suggestion works by influencing our decision-making process and causing us to act in ways that we might not otherwise act. While it can sometimes be used to control or manipulate people, it can also be used for more positive purposes, such as encouraging people to try new things or making them more open to new ideas.
The Power of Suggestion Outside of Hypnosis
Now that we know a little bit more about how the power of suggestion works, let’s take a closer look at how it can influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours outside of hypnosis.
One way that the power of suggestion can influence our behaviour is through social compliance. Social compliance occurs when we conform to societal norms and expectations out of a need to fit in or avoid rejection. For example, imagine you’re at a party with people you don’t know very well. If everyone else is drinking alcohol, you might feel pressure to drink alcohol too so that you fit in with the group. However, if you don’t drink alcohol for personal reasons, conforming to this social norm can put your health at risk.
Another way that the power of suggestion can influence our behaviour is through self-fulfilling prophecies. A self-fulfilling prophecy is a belief or expectation that leads to its own becoming true because we act in ways that make it true. For example, you underwent a cosmetic High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) procedure thinking you’ll look younger faster than any other procedure. It’s a new skin therapy that can perform non-surgical cosmetological wrinkle removal instead of the traditional facelift operation. As a result, your wrinkles did get lessened but the impact it had on your mind is that you really are getting younger. As a result of this belief, you repeat this procedure over and over. This boost of confidence will likely reinforce your original belief that you are reversing the ageing process by repetition.
How The Power of Suggestion is Used in Everyday Life
One of the most obvious examples of the power of suggestion is advertising. Every day, we’re inundated with commercials, billboards, and other forms of advertising telling us what to buy and why we need it. And while many people see right through these marketing ploys, others are more susceptible to their persuasive techniques.
Think about it—how many times have you been in a store and seen something you didn’t even know you wanted until you laid eyes on it? Chances are, it’s happened more times than you can count. And that’s because companies spend millions of dollars perfecting their advertising strategies to tap into our deepest desires and convince us that we need their product to be happy.
It’s not just advertising that can be swayed by the power of suggestion—the media is just as guilty. The news is one major culprit, as the stories they choose to cover often dictate what we think and worry about daily. For example, during natural disasters or times of political turmoil, we’re bombarded with images and stories that create fear and anxiety. Similarly, during happier times, such as the lead-up to Christmas or before a major holiday weekend, the news coverage is much more upbeat.
Then there are the TV shows and movies we watch, which also can shape our thoughts and opinions. Whether it’s a police procedural giving us an inaccurate portrayal of what happens during an investigation or a romantic comedy setting unrealistic expectations for relationships, media messages can subconsciously influence our beliefs about the world around us.
The power of suggestion is all around us—in hypnosis and outside of hypnosis—and it can have a significant impact on our lives if we’re not aware of it. It’s something that we are all susceptible to, whether we realize it or not. Advertisers use it to influence our spending habits; our doctors use it to influence our health. The next time you find yourself being influenced by someone else’s suggestions, take a step back and ask yourself whether or not you really want or need what they’re trying to sell you.