The Silva Method: What Is It and How Does It Work?

The Silva Method was created by Jose Silva in the 1950s. It’s a method of putting yourself into a relaxed frame of mind, and then using that relaxation for useful purposes like improving your self-image, finding solutions to problems, increasing your ability to accomplish goals, improving your relationships with others, and getting better grades at school.

The Silva Method is simple and straightforward. You simply close your eyes and take a deep breath. While you’re breathing out, you imagine seeing the number “3” in front of you. Then you do the same with "2" and "1." Read more about the process here.

That’s the basic Silva Method relaxation technique, although Jose Silva came up with many “deepening” techniques. Follow the link above to learn more about those.

Silva called the achievement of a relaxed frame of mind “going to your level.” He also called it an “alpha state” because when you relax, your brainwaves slow down and pulse at a certain frequency, known as “alpha brainwaves.” The Silva Method is a way to use this relaxed state to accomplish things.

The Silva Method contains a host of “formula-type techniques” you can use to solve problems and help you accomplish your goals. Here are seven of the key techniques:

1. The Workshop of the Mind. This is my favorite technique from the Silva Method. You create a workshop or laboratory in your imagination, complete with any tool you can imagine (literally), and it includes a giant screen on which to visualize things. Your workshop also comes equipped with a resident wise counselor of your choosing, for any advice you may need.

Once you create this workshop in your mind’s eye, you can use it for the rest of your life.

2. Dream programming. Dreams can be a good source of ideas and solutions to problems. The “Glass of Water technique” and “dream programming” are the two Silva techniques that can help you utilize this relatively ignored fountain of creativity.

These techniques of the Silva Method entail going to your level and giving yourself the suggestion that either you’ll have a dream that will give you an idea to solve a specific problem, or when you awaken in the morning and finish drinking a glass of water, an idea will pop into your head.

Many creative people get breakthrough ideas in their dreams. I just came across a reference to this in the book, Psycho-Cybernetics. “Mrs. Thomas A. Edison has said that each evening her husband would go over in his mind those things which he hoped to accomplish the next day,” wrote the author, Maxwell Maltz. Sometimes he would make a list of the jobs he wanted to do, and problems he hoped to solve.”

In the book, The Psychology of the Inventor, Joseph Rossman wrote, “When stumped by something, he [Edison] would stretch out in his Menlo workshop and, half-dozing, get an idea from his dream mind to help him around the difficulty.”

Maltz also wrote, “Kekule’s discovery of the secret of the benzine molecule during sleep, Otto Loewi’s Nobel Prize-winning discovery (that active chemicals are involved in the action of the nerves), and Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Brownies,’ which he said gave him all his plot ideas while sleeping, are all well known.”

Dreams can be a powerful source of creativity. Jose Silva simply created two formalized methods to harness some of the untapped potential of sleep.

3. Mirror of the mind. On your mental screen (in your mental workshop) visualize a specific problem you’re having or a situation you need to deal with, and visualize it in a mirror — see the image like a reflection of a mirror directly in front of you. The mirror has a blue frame.

Then move the mirror to your left, change the frame to white, and visualize your problem resolved. From that point on, whenever you think about your problem, only think of the “solution image” framed in white. This is one of the most useful techniques in the Silva Method. (Find out more about the direction to move the mirror.)

4. Three fingers technique. At your level, suggest to yourself that you’ll be able to quickly reach the alpha level by putting the thumb, index finger and middle finger of one hand together. This technique brings the power of the Silva Method into your wakeful activities.

The three fingers technique is useful for calming yourself when you feel stressed or upset, getting into in a good frame of mind to remember something, or helping you concentrate your attention when you need to focus.

5. Envisioning goals.
Imagine what it will be like when a specific goal is achieved. Envision it in detail. You can do it with something small, like a meeting you have tomorrow with your boss (imagining it turning out the way you want), you can imagine a big goal five years in the future, or anywhere in between. Envisioning goals is a central principle of the Silva Method. Read more about envisioning goals here.

6. Simple suggestion. You can use the Silva Method to give yourself “post-hypnotic suggestions.” This helps you program new behaviors and new thought-habits.

For example, let’s say I want to get into the habit of looking people in the eyes when I’m talking to them. I can go to my mental workshop and envision myself on the screen talking to various people while looking them in the eyes. And I can add the suggestion, “Whenever I talk to people, I look them in the eyes.”

Do not underestimate the power of simple suggestion — especially when your mind is relaxed (and therefore less critical and rejecting).

7. Cancel cancel. This is the Silva Method technique I use more often than any other. When you go to your level, one of the post-hypnotic suggestions you can give yourself is that when you hear a negative comment or a pessimistic point of view, you say “cancel cancel” to yourself, and when you do, the negativity will have no influence over you. It’s kind of like a mental cloak of protection.

For example, when I hear someone say, “Well that tends to happen as you get older,” I think to myself, “cancel cancel.” I don’t want to be influenced by such limiting or negative beliefs.

The Silva Method is simple and basic. There is nothing fancy about it. But it works. I’ve used it for 27 years and I still use it.

The Silva Method gives you tools to do mental work. And it gives you structure — mental structure — for mental achievements like improved self-esteem, more self-confidence, better memory, changing habits, clarifying goals, finding solutions to problems, etc.

Without tools and structure, it would be difficult to get anywhere doing mental work because the mind is like an infinite-possibilities multimedia machine. The structure and tools of the Silva Method make your mind actually useful instead of merely full of potential. It allows you to use more of the mind’s possibilities.

As if that weren’t enough, the Silva Method is a form of meditation, and has all the positive health benefits associated with other forms of meditation.

You can start going to your level right now. Follow these instructions. Simply go to your level and then bring yourself back out of it, or you can use one of the seven techniques while your mind is relaxed. Either way, when you’re done, you’ll feel refreshed and relaxed.

You can easily practice the Silva Method on your own without further instruction and achieve great results. If you’d like more training, the Silva Method Course is an excellent two-weekend class that trains you in all the techniques — the seven above and many more beside.

There are also some good books and audio programs you can use for training yourself in the Silva Method. I first learned the techniques in Jose Silva’s book, The Silva Mind Control Method and successfully used them for a long time. Then I took the two-weekend course. Since then I have used two audio programs, both of which are excellent: The Silva Method from Nightingale-Conant, and The Silva Method “Choose Success” Home Study Course, which is the most complete. The home study course is the closest thing you can get to the two-weekend training.

Many famous people have used the Silva Method. Dr. Wayne Dwyer, one of the most popular self-improvement authors in the world, said, "I have used the Silva Method for many years. It has helped me overcome illnesses and accidents and avoid surgery. I urge you to attend Mr. Silva's training sessions that are presented around the world."

Burt Goldman, "The American Monk," said: "We have all heard many times that anyone can control the direction and pattern of their lives if they just know how. In Silva, you will learn simple, practical and safe ways to bring about this control. The Silva Method consists of scientifically researched, tested, proven techniques which you receive in a step-by-step, learn-by-doing manner. You will see noticeable results quickly."

Dr. O. Carl Simonton, author of Getting Well Again, said, “The Silva Method gave me a tool to use in teaching the patient how to begin the interaction and how to become involved in his own health process. I would say that it is the most powerful single tool that I have to offer.”

Joe Girard, the top car and truck salesperson in the world and author of How to Sell Anything to Anybody said about Silva’s book, "I love it, fantastic, a much needed book to make you become the World's Greatest Anything."

"You can count on Silva Methods to skyrocket your sales,” said Mark Victor Hansen, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul. “This teaches how to sell your way through the top. Learn to enjoy success, achievement and all the benefits of the good life like time, money, and lifestyle freedom while selling yourself by Silva's ideas."

Another famous author, Shakti Gawain, wrote, "The most important technique I learned in the Silva Method was creative visualization...I found that it was amazingly effective."

Russell "Bucky" Dent was a young baseball player with the Chicago White Sox when he first learned the Silva Method in 1975, along with several of his Chicago White Sox teammates. In 1978, after joining the New York Yankees, his contributions were so great, when they won the World Series, they named him their Most Valuable Player (MVP). “The Silva Method helped me with my concentration, and it helped me to relax before the pressures of a game,” Dent said. He went on to become the manager of the Yankees.

Richard Bach was hopelessly stuck on a book he was writing until he discovered the Silva Method and used its techniques to find the inspiration to complete his book — the bestseller, Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

The Silva Method is simple and practical. Try it out and see what it can do for you. Start here: How to Relax Your Mind.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth
SlotralogyAntivirus For Your Mindand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Subscribe to his blog here. You can email him here.

Raise Your Mood With An Easy Question

I sometimes get discouraged in this publishing business. Like any other business, it has its ups and downs, and sometimes my emotions go up and down with it. My wife, Klassy Evans, gave me a very simple suggestion awhile back that really helps. She said, "Whenever you feel discouraged, think of something you're grateful for."

I've done it many times now, and every time it is surprisingly easy to think of something I'm grateful for, and it makes me feel better every time.

I've read the studies on gratitude, but I've always thought of it as a project. It seems like work. I feel like I "should" sit down and write in a journal for a specified length of time, or try to write down a specified number of things I feel grateful for. That's how they do it in the experiments, but of course that's because it's an experiment. They have to test quantifiable, measurable tasks in an experiment. That doesn't mean I have to.

And as I found out, generating a little gratitude works well on the fly and in my head just as well as it does writing it down in a journal. It's not a chore at all — just a simple question to ask myself. It only takes a few moments (just long enough to think of something). And as soon as I think of something, I feel noticeably better.

I've found that if the first thing I think of doesn't raise my mood enough, I can easily ask myself what else I'm grateful for. It never wears out and I never run out.

You and I naturally have our attention on our goals and what we'd like to attain in the future, and the mind naturally compares our goals to what we have now. It compares what we have with what we want to have. That's motivating sometimes, but it can also make you feel demoralized or frustrated.

It is equally legitimate — and ought to get equal billing — to think about what you have (compared to others or compared to your past), or what you have gained, or what you are just plain glad about.

Try it the next time you feel discouraged or frustrated. Ask yourself, "What one thing am I grateful for?" And see what happens. It's a simple, all-purpose moodraiser you can keep in your back pocket and use the hell out of.

When you do, you'll be happier.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth
SlotralogyAntivirus For Your Mindand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Subscribe to his blog here. You can email him here.

Connect With People to Reduce Anxiety

When you feel anxious fairly often, it tends to isolate you socially. Even surrounded by people, even with a lot of acquaintances, you can feel isolated. And the feeling of isolation tends to increase your feelings of anxiety or stress.

One reason is because feeling connected to others is soothing, and if you are not connecting, you are missing out on a very good way to feel calmer and more relaxed. Feeling close is very relaxing. Feeling loved is comforting. It is a powerful anxiety-reducer. In surveys asking people what kind of things improve their mood the best, the most common answers all involve interacting with people.

One very good step toward eliminating a feeling of isolation and increasing your feelings of connection is to increase your people-skills.

The two most practical books I've ever come across on the fine art of dealing with people are Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People and Les Giblin's How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People. They said a lot and they said it well. But I have a few more things to add.

Both of those books emphasize using the techniques to get what you want, and they could be used in a way that does not bring you closer to people. But they can also be used to increase your comfort and connection with people. And when that is your intention, the methods in those two books work very well indeed.

How do you go about increasing your skills? Simple: Get one of those books and read it. Pick two or three skills and work on them in all your interactions.

What do I mean "work on them?" I'll give you an example from Dale Carnegie's class. He was a master of practicality — he got people using the principles, not just reading about them. In his class, which is about public speaking, one of the books you get is How to Win Friends and Influence People. The class meets once a week, and every member of the class gets up and speaks for two minutes twice every week. One of those speeches is on a principle from the book. Carnegie's book ends each chapter with a short principle you can easily remember and apply.

So the teacher assigns a principle, and the class members are told to apply that principle at least once in the coming week and then tell the audience about it the next week.

Since you need to have something to say the following week, you try applying the principle where you can, maybe two or three times to make sure you get a good story to tell. Trying it out, you see how well it works, and you tend to keep using some of the principles from then on. It's a clever system.

What is a people-skill? What am I talking about? I mean basic things like using a person's name when you're talking to her, or noticing something you like about her and telling her you like it, or learning to draw her out in a conversation by asking good questions and showing interest. Those are three people-skills.

In How to Win Friends and Influence People you'll find a bunch of them. Read through a book like that and choose one or two or three you think would really help you if you practiced it, and practice them until they start to feel natural. Then find a couple more, etc.

I think most people conceive of people-skills as a way to persuade people, manipulating their emotions to get them to do what you want. But it doesn't usually reduce anxiety to use people-skills that way. It often increases anxiety.

Let us conceive that the purpose of practicing people-skills is to bring you and others closer together. To cultivate affection, others for you and you for others.

And whenever you get close to people, the process involves moving from relatively superficial conversations to more meaningful conversations as you get to know each other. The people-skills in Carnegie's and Giblin's books are perfect for helping you cross that gap. They are the skills that help you turn a stranger into a friend or lover, if you use those skills with honesty and integrity.

And as you get closer to people, your mood will rise and your anxiety and feelings of isolation will begin to disappear, and you are on your way to a better life.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth
SlotralogyAntivirus For Your Mindand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Subscribe to his blog here. You can email him here.

Direct Your Mind: What Good Have I Been Ignoring?

You can direct your mind by asking yourself a good question. This is one of my favorites: What good have I been ignoring? The answers go on and on, improving my mood the whole time. I keep thinking of more and more good things I've been ignoring. The question almost demands it.

The emotional fallout from this question is abundant good feelings of happiness, gratitude, and pleasant surprise. When you ask a question like this, you’ll find answers everywhere. The question makes you look. You’ll realize someone has done something nice for you and you hadn’t really noticed. You’ll remember a great time you had a couple weeks ago and realize you hadn’t thought of it since then.

The question sets your mind to be on the lookout for good you’ve overlooked. You’ll notice good news items you might not normally notice, like how this lake got cleaned up or that disease now has a cure. The question helps overcome a natural tendency of the mind to get used to good things and only notice bad things. Read more about the mind's negative bias here.

What has been improving? What’s been getting better?

Ask this question, think of some answers, and ask it again.

This is especially a good question to ask if you’ve had your attention on what has been getting worse, or if you've had a feeling things are going badly, or you’re worried they will go badly.

This question won’t solve all your problems, of course, but it can reduce the amount of distress you’re feeling by widening the tunnel vision stress causes. You’re not trying to fool yourself or pretend everything is rosy. You’re looking to acknowledge the reality of what is good or has been getting better.

When those are acknowledged, you are less distressed and more able to make things even better. And it is good for your mood. A good mood is healthy and productive.

What good have you been ignoring?

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

Fasting's Salutary Effects

Below is a quote from the book, The First Survivors of Alzheimer's: How Patients Recovered Life and Hope in Their Own Words by Dale Bredesen:

"Fasting has numerous salutary effects, from enhancing ketosis to improving glycemic control and supporting insulin sensitivity to improving lipid status to improving blood pressure to enhancing autophagy and mitophagy, among others. Thus fasting is the base of the brain food pyramid (at least twelve hours between the end of supper and the start of breakfast or lunch, and at least three hours between supper and bedtime). The earlier in life you begin fasting, the longer and more thoroughly you will reap the benefits."

Four Of Our Kindle Books Are On Sale Now

Four of our books, in their Kindle versions, will be on sale starting Friday, April 5th until Thursday, April 11th, 2024:

Slotralogy: How to Change Your Habits of Thought: On sale for 99 cents. Using one of the simplest self-help methods ever created, this small book shows you how to change the one thing that will change everything: Your habitual way of thinking.

Self-Help Stuff That Works: On sale for $1.99. This is a collection of short, easy-to-read, to-the-point chapters on how to have a better attitude, how to do better at work, and how to deal with people more successfully. The chapters were originally articles published in the newsletter, At Your Best, where Adam Khan's column was voted the reader's favorite.

How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English): On sale for 99 cents. You know from experience that when you change your perspective on something that troubles you, it can sometimes quickly change how you feel, and improve the way you deal with challenges. This small book explains how to change your perspective deliberately and reliably, which will make you feel good more often and get more of your goals accomplished. This is a short, practical, interesting, easy-to-read book on reframing the events in your life so you're more capable of dealing with them and better able to keep a good attitude.

Cultivating Fire: How to Keep Your Motivation White Hot: On sale for 99 cents. While it's true that sometimes you are naturally motivated, especially immediately after deciding on a goal, it is also true that you can cultivate motivation or let it do what it naturally does most of the time, which is fade away. Motivation is a tremendous power. A highly motivated person can accomplish seemingly impossible things. In this short book, you will learn how to stoke your inner fire to get (and keep) your motivation burning white hot. This not only makes you more capable of accomplishment, but it makes life more fun. Would you like to see what you are really capable of? Intense motivation can unleash it.

Confession and Repentance

The two oldest known self-help techniques in the world are confession and repentance. Before you can change, you must be able to admit (at least to yourself) what you're doing that isn't good. Before you can be honest with another, you have to at least admit the truth to yourself. Or to someone you trust. That's confession.

Repentance means a change of heart. Up until now you've been doing whatever you've been doing and justifying it or excusing it in some way. Repentance is no longer making excuses. It means admitting you no longer want to live that way. Repentance is a change in values. It means something else is now more important to you than the rewards you got from the old way.

After confession and repentance, you're in a position to honestly change your life.

This is not a superficial technique. If you're ready to change something that has not yielded before to more casual attempts, take the time and speak to yourself or someone you trust with complete candor. What are your flaws? What character defect is keeping your life stuck and causing problems? That's confession.

And what values do you have that keep that character defect in place? Are they really what you value most? Think about it. Answer truthfully. What do you value more? That's repentance. Ask these questions of yourself. Take the time and be honest.

This method can not only solve your difficult problem, it can simultaneously solve many others as a side effect. It can also lead to a wonderful feeling of aliveness.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth
SlotralogyAntivirus For Your Mindand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Subscribe to his blog here. You can email him here.