If you have ever considered buying self improvement CDs, you know there are a lot to choose from. It isn't just about different authors though. There are very different types to think about as well. Here is a look at five of them, with some pointers as to which may be best for you.

Subliminal Message CDs

We know that our unconscious mind picks up a lot that we are not consciously aware of. Science and common sense proves this all the time. What is not so clear, though, is whether subliminal messages are easily processed and as effective as the sellers of these things say. Many of the original studies (such as the one where movie-goers had "eat popcorn" flashed on the screen) were flawed.

There may be some validity to the use of subliminal audios for self improvement, but if so, the science hasn't really caught up yet. Questions without clear answers yet include whether your mind really hears the messages that you can't consciously hear, whether they influence you the way you hope, and even whether they are really on that CD (how would we know?). Because of these issues, I recommend only buying those subliminal products that come with a clear money-back guarantee.

Self Hypnosis CDs

Hypnosis makes more sense than subliminal messages (my opinion). We know that we are more susceptible to suggestions at times, and one of those times is when we are in an altered state of consciousness, a hypnotic state. Many people swear by hypnosis audios, and they are generally inexpensive. But given that some problems sometimes resolve themselves without help (not to mention the placebo effect), there is still reason for some skepticism here. You might want to try CDs that offer that guarantee again.

Affirmation CDs

The idea of listening to affirmations also makes more sense to me than subliminal messages. You are at least certain to hear the suggestions. The idea is straight forward enough: You condition your mind with the thought and belief patterns as those who are successful, so you'll feel, act, and get the same results as they do. Repeating the affirmations aloud or in your mind may help.

It is easy to be skeptical of the impact of just repeating things of course. But this is one I have tried, and I can say that it really seems to have worked. My wife and I tried a self improvement CD that was meant to motivate us with affirmations of a sort. We let it play in the background for a week or two earlier this year (we work at home), and we were soon working much more. There could be something to this.

Brainwave Entrainment CDs

This is one of my favorite types of self improvement CDs. They are meant to make meditation easy, and they sure do that. Using "binaural beats," they slow your brainwaves and relax you. All you have to do is put on your headphones and listen. Beats embedded in the background music (or rain, waves, or other sounds) slow your brainwaves into an alpha state or deeper (beta brainwaves, at 14 hertz or above, are the usual in a wide awake state).

They claim to raise your threshold for stress with regular use, and many people say they do just that. They may also help you increase your self awareness. I certainly find them to be a pleasant experience. They clear my mind and take away stress quickly. I also use them to put me to sleep when I need a "power nap." There is no question that they powerfully affect your brain, and I have experienced and heard of only positive results.

Good Ideas Products

I'm not sure what else to call these self improvement CDs, but there are a lot of them. They consist of audio books and other programs that simply enlighten you with good ideas. Some are based on a kind of secular spirituality, others overtly religious, and many just provide great life lessons.

Many address a specific subject, like changing your ideas about money, relationships, goal setting or motivation. The best of them change your perspective and so change your life for the better. Some can introduce you to universal principles which alter your entire approach to life. Those are my favorites, especially if they're not too full of mystical nonsense and when I can test and prove the concepts valid in my own experience.

Whatever self improvement CDs you try, the investment is usually reasonable considering the possible benefits. I have spent a lot of money and time on these things over the years, and I can tell you that even if most of them didn't do much, the one or two that were truly valuable made it all worth it.

Author's Bio: 

Copyright Steve Gillman. For a recommedation on the best Self Improvement CDs of each type, and to get the free Self Help Weekly Newsletter, visit: www.selfimprovementnow.com/self-improvement-cds.html