“Yeah… so it turns out we have bedbugs. I’ll be boiling all my stuff.”
I shifted my chair a couple of inches away from the girl talking on the phone near me but still ended up feeling itchy all over. I don’t even know if bedbugs make you itch… but all it takes is someone talking about insects and I begin to feel like scratching my legs and arms.
This is the power of suggestion (or maybe just a case of ADHD). But anyway… the power of suggestion can be amazing. There are so many stories of the crazy way it can be used. Hypnosis is in fact one form of it. And the idea
of leading a witness is an everyday situation where the power of suggestion plays out.
In another example, a TV show called People Watchers on the BBC tested the power of suggestion by opening an empty bottle and then asking the audience to let them know when they could smell the powerful odor inside. Pretty
soon people were raising their hands… though when asked they all smelled something different.
Every day we repeat messages to ourselves, some we even believe are meant to help us. I want to lose weight; I am not going to worry. I won’t write a bad story. But when these messages are framed in the negative that is was our brain holds onto. The power of suggestion is the reason why life coaches recommend framing things in a positive way. Exercise will make me feel good. I am strong and courageous. My story is going to be great.
On a personal level I am sure I can improve what my subconscious gets from me (though usually it is something like…. Yummmm, cheese, mmmm or wine…. Ohhh, or chocolate.) As a writer I wonder whether I can use the power of suggestion in my writing. Have you ever done this? Framed a written message with the express purpose of a specific reaction? Are there words we can use that would trigger, like the bedbug comment an actual physical reaction in our readers?
Let me know what you think… I love to read your comments. I’ll even comment back, once I have to go shower the imaginary bedbugs off me.
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