How Do Subliminals Work and Do They Really Work? [Check This Out]

how do subliminals work

Many of us have heard the story of The Little Engine that Could while growing up.

It was first published in 1930 by Platt and Munk in the United States, but was printed in newspapers as early as 1906.

The Little Engine faced a difficult hill. He repeated to himself, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”

Even though other, larger train engines couldn’t make it up the difficult hill, the smaller train engine could.

The Little Engine used positive affirmations, timed with action, to create more willpower.

What we often forget about The Little Engine that Could is what happened after the hill was conquered.

The Little Engine comes down the hill saying, “I thought I could. I thought I could.”

Subliminal messages work in the same way as a positive affirmation.

We may not be consciously talking to ourselves, but we do allow others to speak to us in a safe, encouraging environment. It has the same effect.

Subliminals allow the human mind to visualize success. It fuels the desire for action. Those actions have the power to change life for the better.

Here’s how it works.


The Human Mind Is Always Activated

subliminal brain power

 How do subliminals work?

 They embrace the subconscious mind. That part is always  active.

 The conscious mind, on the other hand, is only active when  awake.

 That means our subconscious mind is responsible for many of  the automated responses and reactions that are required for  life to happen.

 You don’t need to think about breathing or having your heart  beat to have those actions occur.

 The same is true for our patterns of speech, our personality  and character, or even our emotions.

In many ways, the subconscious mind is a recording of who you are and who you will be.

Subliminals ask an important question: what would happen if you changed that recording for something new?

The result is often a powerful life change.

By changing the core foundations of the subconscious mind, it becomes possible to change personal perceptions.

Through that process of change, it becomes possible to achieve virtually any goal.


How Do Subliminals Work to Create Change?

The Little Engine said, “I think I can. I think I can.”

Subliminal programming tells you, “I think I can. I think I can.”

It is a message, often a specific phrase, that is intended to operate below where the conscious mind can pick it up.

Many subliminals are designed to be audio programs, but visual subliminals are also possible.

Imagine that you want to pursue a promotion at work.

The only problem is that you struggle to stay focused on certain tasks because they are boring.

Let’s say you struggle to pull data off a printed spreadsheet.

You know that if there is any shot at earning that promotion, you’ve got to prove that you can stay focused.

Subliminal programs can create a positive affirmation phrase that encourages the mind to stay focused.

Something as simple as, “I am focused,” embedded into an audio track with relaxing musical elements, can encourage the needed change.

That phrase will be repeated several times. As the subconscious mind perceives the phrase, it can begin to change the thinking patterns that have created unfocused habits.

The spreadsheet won’t go from boring to exciting, but you will have the motivation to get through the work with greater ease.

Subliminals can work in several specific areas.

The most popular programs tend to involve losing weight, finding optimism, or developing more confidence, but anything is possible.

If you find that other methods of motivation are not as helpful as you’d hoped they would be, subliminals could be the answer.

It bridges the gap between the subconscious and conscious minds to create real change.


What Is the Science Behind Subliminals?

science subliminal messages

The science behind subliminal messaging has had its own share of controversy.

In the United States, the first modern attempt at subliminals occurred in 1943.

During a Daffy Duck cartoon, the message to “Buy Bonds” for World War II appeared.

No follow-up work was done to track if the effort was successful.

About a decade later, James Vicary stated that he increased popcorn and soda sales at a movie theater by subliminally flashing the words “Drink Coca-Cola” and “Eat Popcorn” during a film screening.

In 1962, however, Vicary admitted that he had falsified his work.

In the next 30 years, several research studies involving subliminals would be completed.

Virtually all discounted the idea that a subliminal message could alter conscious behavior.

It wouldn’t be until 1992 that researchers discovered that subliminals offer subtle instead of profound changes.

According to reporting from Scientific American, participants in the 1992 study were shown a photograph of normal daily living activities for a brief moment.

Half of the participants were shown an image that offered uplifting, positive content.

The other half were shown content that would be perceived as negative.

Those who saw the negative images thought worse of the person in the images when compared to those who saw positive images.

Once this was discovered, the focus of the research shifted.

We wished to discover how much a subtle push in a specific direction could alter human behavior.

In 2007, Bahador Bahrami, who was working as a neuroscientist at University College London, discovered that how the brain processes information can affect how subliminals are received.

If the brain is busy, then the subliminal messages are easily discarded.

If the brain has “spare processing resources,” then the subliminal messages are able to get through to encourage change.

If the brain is working near full capacity, however, the response to subliminals is no longer automatic.

A conscious perception is then required, which eliminates the power of the message.

In 2009, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) discovered one important truth.

Subliminals create motivation within people who are actually doing what they already want to do.

A subliminal message can “prime” the mind when there is a lack of something or a positive association with a specific action.

With deprivation or motivation in place, the subliminals create an extra level of motivation to carry out the instructions which are provided.

Martijn Veltkamp, a researcher for the NWO, flashed the words “thirsty” and “drinking” onto a computer screen so quickly that users could not perceive the messaging.

This made the representation of the behavior desired to become accessible to the conscious mind.

​The key to the success of the subliminal working occurred when the computer users were thirsty at the time the messaging occurred.

Those who were not thirsty were not influenced by the subliminals.

Those who were thirsty were more motivated to find something to drink.

Veltkamp also discovered that reality perceptions can be changed when subliminals are able to influence existing factors.

Participants felt like the glasses of water they drank were larger than they really were, especially if the individual hadn’t had something to drink for an extended period.


What About Audio-Based Subliminal Messages?

The formal research on subliminals tends to involve visual components.

What about the effects of subliminal audio messages that can reach the subconscious mind?

The effects of audio messaging have supportive research evidence that dates to 1979.

In that year, around 50 department stores in North America began to use audio subliminals to reduce employee theft and shoplifting activity.

Messages through the music system in the stores encouraged honesty.

In just 9 months, one department store chain reported saving more than $600,000.

The Wall Street Journal reported in 1980 that a grocery store in New Orleans, LA used audio subliminal messages in their overhead audio and created all-time lows for theft.

Cashier shortages dropped more than $100 per week and shoplifting losses were reduced by 75%.

As with the visual subliminals, audio subliminals work when there is already an activity that is desired by the individual.

In a British grocery store, French and German wines of equal quality and price were displayed to customers.

On alternating days, French and German music was played throughout the store.

On the days when French music was played, French wine sales increased.

The same was true for German wine sales and German music.

After the purchase was completed, researchers interviewed the customers.

They self-reported little or no influence for their purchase of wine.


Subliminals Work on All Humans Senses

subliminal influence

There are 5 basic human senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.

There are 2 other human senses that don’t get as much publicity: vestibular inputs and proprioception.

Vestibular inputs provide us with movement and balance capabilities.

Proprioception is our overall body awareness.

When using audio subliminal programs, all 7 of these senses are engaged in some way.

That engagement occurs outside of what the conscious mind is able to perceive.

There are two primary forms of subliminal messages that engage these senses through auditory programming.

The first form is called “backmasking.”

This form of subliminal message is a recording technique which offers a different message when it is played backward compared to the message offered when played forward.

Listverse offers 10 famous cases of backmasking to think about.

The second form of audio subliminals is called “subaudible messaging.”

This is the type of subliminal that is offered in many of today’s best self-empowerment programs.

It uses a low-volume message, inserted into a louder audio file, so that the message cannot be consciously heard.

These messages can then activate the semantic network.

Whenever you think of a specific subject, you begin to think of interconnected subjects at the same time.

Let’s use Microsoft as an example.

In the average person’s semantic network, a prompt to think about Microsoft will cause someone to think about Windows. They may think about Bill Gates. The might think about an XBOX, video games, computers, or software.

There can be positive associations and negative associations.

A person’s most recent experience with the triggered prompt from a subaudible will be the first action recalled by the semantic network.

If a person’s computer crashed and they got the blue screen of death, then that would be the first item recalled with a Microsoft prompt.

Once the semantic network is active, additional prompts begin to form.

Thinking about Bill Gates might cause someone to think of Seattle or philanthropic work.

Thinking about Windows might make someone think of home.

Then, if someone thinks of home, they might think about their children. That may initiate the change process which encourages the subconscious mind to begin rewiring logic processes.

Two additional types of subliminals are included with many audio programs today as well.

Stereo Confusion uses positive affirmations that overlap one another over the stereo channels of your headphones or speakers.

This chaos causes the conscious mind to be stimulated so the affirmations can drip down into the subconscious.

Some programs will combine conscious audio affirmations with subconscious subliminals to create powerful results.

The Lightning Technique increases the speed of the affirmations that are offered, but does not change their pitch.

They are repeated frequently to encourage the subconscious mind to embrace the wanted change.

Subliminals that are effective will also incorporate aspects of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP, throughout the program.


Key Points to Think About When Considering Subliminals

  • Results can happen very quickly. Many people who take advantage of subliminals can begin seeing results in just 2-3 listening sessions. Over the course of 2-3 weeks, new habits can begin to form. Continuing to listen to your preferred programs can then enhance the results being experienced.
  • Professional subliminal programs will give you an exact list of every message or affirmation that your subconscious will register. For someone worried about their finances, an affirmation list might include, “I have all the money I need” or “I am financially secure.”
  • It doesn’t require much of a time investment to take advantage of the benefits that subliminals can offer. Most programs can be completed in 10 minutes or less. Just load your preferred MP3 onto your phone or music player, download it to your computer, and relax as you listen. Many programs come with up to 6 different audio tracks that provide different music or background sounds to enjoy.
  • Subliminals are not the same as hypnosis. You will not be induced into a trance-like state when using this type of program. Instead, the subconscious mind is exposed to hundreds, if not thousands, of positive affirmations or specific commands that meet personal goals.


Can I Just Sit Back and Let the Subliminals Do the Work for Me?

subliminal messages music

 No. Subliminal programming, positive  affirmations, and  other forms of self-  encouragement do not offer  instant  gratification.

 It will not work unless you have already decided that  you want to make the changes that the program  encourages.

 It is possible that the divide between the conscious  and subconscious mind is not as divisive as some  researchers believe.

The mind may be fully integrated and subliminals are registered in the deepest part of the brain instead.

If you are not motivated, subliminals will not create motivation. Take losing weight as an example.

If you’re happy with your body and don’t want to make changes, a subliminal program designed to help you lose weight will be ineffective.

You must be actively trying to lose weight in some way for the program to be supportive.

Listening to the messages or watching brief flashes of positive affirmations won’t magically create new skills.

You can’t listen to subliminals about being more productive and then instantly have your words-per-minute typing speed go from 40 to 120.

You must be actively engaged with the skill or desire that you want enhanced.

Then you must practice that skill or desire to improve it.

Subliminals create the “urge” to help you keep practicing so you can move forward.

There is no immediate skill gain experienced when using subliminals.

Although results can be seen in just 2-3 listening sessions, it is because you want those results to happen.

Habits are retained with greater regularity when personal control is present.

Inner work must be used in conjunction with outer work to maximize the success of a program.


Problems Which Can Limit the Effectiveness of Subliminals

One of the biggest complaints that people have with subliminal programming is that they experience zero results.

First and foremost, subliminals do not work if there is not a desire to make a change somewhere in the mind.

Many people have unrealistic results for their program investment as well.

There are some common reasons why subliminals might not work as intended for some people.

You may wish to take these issues into account before finalizing a decision on what subliminals are right for your needs.

#1. The recording quality is poor. Creating a positive affirmation that is audible to the subconscious mind, but inaudible to the conscious mind, is quite difficult to do.

#2. The affirmations are ineffective. Some instructions could even be harmful if there is an influence present. Never use a program that refuses to tell you which affirmations are being used. The basics must be done right. Affirmations must always be positive, in the present tense, and from a first-person perspective.

#3. The wrong equipment is being used. Many subliminals take advantage of modern audio technologies. If you’re using a cheap stereo system that is 25 years old, the results will not be equal to using a modern pair of stereo headphones. Older equipment may not even be able to broadcast in the sound frequencies where the affirmations have been placed.

#4. The audio is worn out. This issue isn’t a problem with digital MP3s, but older CDs or cassette tapes could be easily damaged. That would change the listening experience.

#5. The audio is too far away. For subliminals to be effective, a set of headphones should be used. High-frequency sounds do not travel as well as low-frequency sounds. Noise pollution can interfere with the experience when headphones aren’t being used as well.

#6. There may be hearing loss. Most hearing loss occurs within the highest frequencies that can be translated by the human brain. These are the same frequencies that are used in speaking, which means the positive affirmations may not be understood. Some may not even be able to hear them.

#7. The program isn’t completed. Many subliminals are designed to be used in their entirety over a single session. If you stop a 10-minute program after just 3 minutes, then the affirmations cannot receive the support they need. It is also just a matter of time before the average person abandons their program because they either forgot to use it or had a lingering doubt about it.

Every problem can be solved when the best subliminals for your needs are used. That’s why it is so important to choose the right program.


Which Subliminals Are Worth Using Right Now?

If you’re wondering about how subliminals work or you’d like to try a program, then there are two good programs worth considering. ​

subliminal guru

​The first is Subliminal Guru.

The variety of programs that are available in this subliminals series is really big.

You’ll find opportunities to improve patience, overcome shyness, or boost your self-esteem.

If your desire is to be super creative, there’s a program for that.

If you want to be more social or let go of your regrets, there are programs for you too.

subliminal 360


The second is called Subliminal360.

This program offers visual positive affirmations that flash on your computer screen while you work.

You can use these subliminals to think with positive energy, improve personal confidence, or lose weight.

The advantage that Subliminal Guru provides is the chance to play only the programs that you believe will create the change you want to see.

Just begin listening to the audio and the power of positive affirmations will begin to work.

You can flash thousands of different positive affirmations on your computer screen as you are working.

You can also generate customized subliminal MP3 tracks to listen to your chosen affirmations whenever you wish.

No matter which option you choose, you’ll find that subliminals could be that one tool that helps you to overcome that last roadblock that is stopping you.

It is possible to take charge of your life.

You can adopt the mindset you’ve always wanted.

You can then use that mindset to carve out numerous advantages for yourself in the future.

Subliminals do work, but you must want them to work.

If you’re ready to make a change, then you’re ready to explore what this awesome technology could provide you today.

​If you would like to try out Subliminal Guru and Subliminal360, click here and here.




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I am an enthusiast of meditation and contemplation. I also like listening to brainwave entrainment music. In my view it's really effective. I hope you'll find something interesting on this blog.

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