Power of Suggestion

To understand the Power of Suggestion, you need to appreciate the nature of suggestion and how it works. For example, suggestions should always be in the positive.

If you read ‘don’t think of a black cat’, what do you think of? If only at a subconscious level, you probably thought of a black cat.

That is because you have to think about each word before understanding the grammar. The unconscious works in the same way. So if you think to yourself ‘don’t worry, don’t worry‘ you are actually programming yourself to worry, because ‘worry’ is being repeated to your subconscious. Do you see how this works? This is a useful tip for everyday life. For example it is more influential to say ‘please be on time‘ rather than ‘please don’t be late‘. When someone asks you how you are, answering ‘not bad‘ will leave the word ‘bad’ lingering in their subconscious, which they may then associate with you. So first tip for the power of suggestion: the subconscious takes things literally, one word at a time, and processes all the associations for those words.


As you stare at the dot below, allow the colours to disappear completely as you realise just how flexible your mind really is …now

The power of suggestion is based on the psychological mechanism that whatever the subconscious accepts, it acts on. This could be a negative comment blasted down from a parent, a goal that is repeated every night, a self-image belief etc. So the whole idea to use the power of suggestion is to find ways to communicate to the subconscious. This could be to yourself, it could be to others. How do you sneak suggestions past the critical conscious mind – the ‘bouncers’ or ‘guards’ of the subconscious?

One method to enhance the power of suggestion is repetition. Think of advertising, or songs on the radio. So remember to repeat the same suggestions with no less confidence or enthusiasm each time you do it. Of course they can also be amazingly powerful when only used once, as this is often how phobias are caused. Self Hypnosis is something that you can get good at and learn more about the more you practice. It is helpful to practice a few times each day, if only for a few minutes.

Another way to boost your power of suggestion? If suggesting to others, you could ‘mark out’ the suggestion by using ‘embedded commands’. You could mark them out by slightly changing your voice, tone, a body movement, a tilt of the head, any subtle difference that the subconscious will recognise, but the conscious mind won’t. E.g. ‘Its amazing how the sun can make you feel good‘ or ‘yes I can see you were feeling angry, but I wonder if you can relax and calmly explain how you would like to feel better‘.

There are many other examples of the power of suggestion, including implication, distraction, association, or metaphor.

Suggestion for goal setting

  • Repeat to yourself in positive terms what you need to do, or be, to attain the goal, in present terms. For example ‘you are confident’.

  • Imagine telling yourself about a time when you have displayed confidence. See, hear, feel, smell, experience the memory in all its detail, focussing on how confident you felt (or determined, focussed, happy, powerful etc).
  • Then think about a future event.
  • Visualise yourself as you would like to be, in every detail.
  • Rewind it in your mind’s eye, and replay it but stepping inside the body of yourself, and experiencing those details from the inside.
  • Do this a few times for different situations.
  • End with the goal, even if you have used it already, visualising yourself and knowing how it feels to have achieved that goal in every detail.

I hope that this has shown you some ways in which the power of suggestion can work. Just remember – what the subconscious accepts, it acts on. That is really all it does. It works like software in a computer. So make sure your suggestions, words, intonation and beliefs are positive, and accept them. If you find this difficult, you may have opposing beliefs or previously accepted ‘software’ conflicting. The Power of Suggestion is just one small element of hypnotic psychology – so continue to browse the site to learn more about how this works.

Just a suggestion.

28 thoughts on “Power of Suggestion

  1. I am doing a science fair project about the power of suggestion that will be used against an eye-witness of a fake crime
    it was very confusing at first but this sight has made it clearer and given me a few ideas to try on my friends
    if you have any other info about this topic please email me at rainbowfish90210@gmail.com

  2. Hi Dimitri
    There were some famous studies by Loftus and Loftus in the seventies who investigated a similar thing. Witnesses were asked questions such as “did you see the broken headlight?” (when there was no broken headlight), and also asked after an earlier leading question such as “how fast do you think the car was going as it smashed into the other car?” (the word ‘smashed’ obviously offering the suggestion of a broken headlight). Choose your words carefully and ‘act as if’ and you may very well lead your witness down a few distorted memories!

  3. What a coincidence! This is also very helpful since I, as well, am doing my science fair project on the power of suggestion.

  4. Hi Rosey, these science fairs sound great! If I was doing one, I’d do it on the power of suggestion too. On a series called People Watchers last year, they opened an empty bottle to an audience, asking them to raise their hand when they could smell the powerful odour within. Sure enough, people at the front started putting up their hand, this suggestion along with the hypersensitivity and suggestion of smell made the next row start to put up their hands and so on. Everyone reported a different smell! It was very interesting.

  5. they did for me but when i thought about why im doing this or this wont work they caame back but when i thought of how black and small the dot was they began to drift away.

  6. It worked and then i left it for a while…. i then came back and didn’t read the suggestion and focused on the dot and it didn’t work. Interesting.

    Suggestion is a powerful tool.

  7. I am doing ‘the power of suggestion’ project aswell.
    I never new how powerful the suggestion is….
    Do you have any suggestions on what I should have them look at to remember? I saw how on other sites I was on that using a poster of faces would be the best. I am still not exactly clear on what to get though…
    :) Thanks..

  8. im doing a project on how the power of suggestions effects peoples taste ie the word diet im so glad 4 your website but has there been any times when your experiments didn’t work? pls reply to hlk0703@gmail.com

  9. Hi,
    I also am doing a science fair project on the power of suggestion, but I’m not sure how i should test it. Any suggestions?

  10. I am doing a persuasive speech. I am trying to figure out what I can use as a visual aid to make my point stronger. Any suggestions?

  11. I am also doing my science fair project on the power of suggestion. And Will, the science fair project is a big project students do in school (most from 9-12 grade). You research a topic and do an experiment on it. Maddi, if it helps mine is going to be with food. I don’t want to give to much away though because it is a competition at some point.

  12. im doing a science fair project on this as well and i have come up with a way to test it.

    1. get your teacher to help you
    2. the teacher will hand out a board game (any game works) and says, “class, i am giving this game to my son/nephew for his birthday and i want you guys to try it out and tell me if you find it fun or not, i have already tried it and i loved the game”
    3. at the end have your teacher to tally how many people liked it and how many did not
    4. are they less likely to enjoy it if she/he had said that he/her had found it boring? and did they enjoy it more because she said that she enjoyed it?

    there are tons of variations on this if you dont like this exact experiment

    1. Hi Science Fairers,
      Here’s some neat ideas.
      1) Ask people to come closer… towards a big sealed jar on a table. Say that there is a pungent smell in the jar, but that different people will pick up on different scents depending on their olfactory sensitivity. To some it will smell like rotten eggs… to others a kind of toxic smell. Then open the lid, and keep offering suggestions that it might take a while for the smell to reach them. Ask people to put up their hand when they can smell something. Hopefully, someone towards the front will soon raise their hand… if they do, it will contribute to the suggestive force to those behind. (Of course, there is nothing in the jar).
      2) If doing a speech or presentation, say that in a moment you’re going to ask a random volunteer to come up to the front, where you’re going to ask them some tricky questions. Then, without speaking, look around the room, pensively, as if searching for the right person. Look everyone in the eye if you can. Then after a few moments, say that you were just kidding – but ask people to put their hand up who felt a horrible feeling inside. A cruel little trick – but through suggestion, by installing the imagination of being out at the front, you changed their body state.

  13. i have read the book called “The Master Key System”, to be honest, i like that book, as i am sure so many of you do, becuase it is such a famous book very well written. However, the information i find here, is very very good. and i want to learn more about power of suggestion and how i could i use it on otherS, “lets say i am a salesman, and i want people to accept my suggestion, then how do i do it???? what are the ways or body language or structure involved in trasfering that sneaky suggestion i want to be planted in to the customers subconscious mind….

    i really want to learn. please guide me!

  14. I am doing my science fair on the power of suggestion and would love to see more ideas on this subject…..i am in 7th grade and am very interested in doin this and am excited that i might have a chance to win the science fair award or whatever they do:) i love projects that have to do with the human mind and body :) and things that have to do with reactions

  15. Thanks for this article I have recently done an experiment on the power of suggestion. it somprises of cutting a cookie in half and shen telling the subject that they are two different cookies. I sorta got a half and half result but it was really fun!

  16. wow..why is everyone doing a science project on this?
    it’s ok, I’m doing a projsect on this, too. :)
    i like the idea with the empty bottle, i think that is a really simple, very effective example. Also, I just thought, as a star wars fan, that this is what the jedi mind trick is. just thought i should get that out there.
    great site, very helpful, thanks :D

  17. Hi–I am an Rn, and I would like to learn more ways to heal my patients with the power—. I have already started since reading an ed. article, but I need to learn more persuasive ways to attract the unconsious.:) By this I mean better ways of saying things, as I am not as articulate as I’d like to be. thanks, pat

  18. Hi I am doing a science fair project on the power of suggestion and I am trying ot find sources that are books but the local library does not have any and online there are very few books that I actually understand. If you have any idea on what would be good books for a 7th grader to read for research on the ower of suggestion please let me know
    Thank You

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