There are all kinds of therapy available to help you change your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors: hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, art therapy, music therapy, and more. One kind of therapy you can do by yourself is bibliotherapy. Perhaps you know how wonderful it feels to read a good book and escape into another world for a little while. That is one kind of bibliotherapy, but I am talking about self-help books.

You may think self-help books are not for you, but even business books can be considered self-help. Anything that helps you achieve your goals, that teaches you tips and secrets to get ahead or to approach challenges in a new way, is a self-help book. By reading a good self-help book, you can learn how to transform and release your perceived or actual limitations.

There is no shortage of self-help books on the market. Many of them are repetitive or insubstantial and some are even damaging or absurd, so it takes some wading through to find a good one. I am currently reading The Secret Code of Success by Noah St. John. The "secret" St. John presents is the concept of afformations. Afformations is a play on affirmations. In hypnosis, we use affirmations (positive statements) to change the way we think about ourselves. For example, if you often think "I'm a failure," you use the affirmation "I'm a success" to reverse that thought. Every time you start to think "I'm a failure," you substitute the affirmation. This can help over time if there is no benefit to thinking you're a failure. If there is a perceived benefit, then that belief would need to be examined through hypnotherapy or other means to release it. For example, being a "failure" may mean not having to try again, not having to change, not having to work, not having to move or leave home, not having to succeed, not having to maintain success, not having to be visible/responsible/independent/etc. There could be lots of subconscious benefits to being a failure. Until those perceived benefits are exposed and transformed, affirmations will never work.

In his book, St. John talks about afformations, which are questions rather than statements. Afformations are positive questions stated in the past tense, as though the goal has already been achieved. When we ask ourselves a question, our brain starts looking for an answer. For example, what did you eat for lunch yesterday? Your brain is looking for that answer now. By asking yourself an afformation, your brain starts looking for the answer. If there isn't an answer yet, then your brain will try to come up with a solution, like solving a riddle. This is how inventors, scientists, entrepreneurs, and other creative people work. By asking afformations, you are using your own creative subconscious mind to find solutions. St. John compares this to typing a few words into a search engine, like Google, and sending the query off to the internet.

So, to relate this to the example above, if you ask yourself, "Why am I such a failure?" your brain will start looking for answers to that question. Any answers you get are sure to be negative. If you transform that to a positive question, you would ask, "Why am I such a success?" and your brain would start looking for answers to that question instead. To make this an afformation, you would state it in the past tense or state it as if it were already achieved, such as "Why did I become such a success?" or "Why does success come so easily to me now?" This will get your creativity flowing so you can come up with even more answers. You might surprise yourself.

This is not all you have to do. Afformations is the "secret" in the book, but there are several steps that St. John outlines in his book to help you achieve your goals using afformations. It's a clear and handy self-help book with an interesting twist on the use of affirmations. If you like affirmations, use afformations to see if you can go even further. If you like to read, check out The Secret Code of Success. If you'd like to become a success, read the book, use afformations, and work through the action steps.

Choose Life!

NHK reported last month that 30,000 people commit suicide in Japan every year. The number peaks in March, which is the end of the financial year. If you are feeling stressed as the financial year closes, you are not alone. The economic situation in Japan and abroad has affected everyone, some more than others. However, this is a temporary situation. Economies go up and down. Suicide is not the answer to financial or other problems. If you are contemplating suicide, please call someone close to you or call the Tokyo English Life Line (TELL). TELL provides free and confidential counseling in a variety of languages. You do not need to speak English or to live in Tokyo to use TELL's services. If you need to talk to someone now, please call TELL at 03-5774-0992 immediately.

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