What is the conscious mind?
In order to understand the subconscious, you must first understand the conscious. Visual representations of the subconscious mind often show an iceberg, and this is a very telling analogy. The small part above water is your conscious mind, this part is all you can see. It seems like this is how big the iceberg is.
The conscious describes our perception of our surface thoughts. The conscious mind encompasses your thoughts, habits, and emotions. The things that you feel and notice are your conscious mind at work; however, the reason behind why you are having these thoughts is attributed to the subconscious.
Following the iceberg analogy, the 90% that lies beneath the water, the mass holding up the 10% that can be seen represents the subconscious mind. Our conscious decisions and beliefs are what make us the person we are. The countless smells, sights, interactions, feelings, and sounds around us, whether we’ve noticed them or not are working behind the scenes to form who we consciously choose to be.
For example, if you decide you would like to become a better cook, your conscious mind has made this decision. Your subconscious mind has collected information that made you want this skill. You may have witnessed the warmth and appreciation for a person who cooked at a dinner party. You may have noticed a coworker bringing in home-cooked healthy meals, and noticed them getting in better shape. A friend may have started a side business selling baked sweets, and you’ve witnessed them becoming a happier person by working with their hands to create these treats that are bringing happiness to others. Your subconscious mind learned and recorded how you felt while having these experiences and used that information to give your conscious a positive association with cooking.
What is the subconscious mind?
Your perception of who you are has been created by the subconscious mind over time. The information your subconscious uses to form your expectations, desires, and beliefs are beyond our awareness, and control. This process is automatic.
The human brain processes about one thousand trillion logical operations per second. You don’t have to consciously will your heart to beat, or your stomach to digest food. All of these processes are controlled by our incredibly diverse brain systems. Our subconscious picks up on everything we notice and directly pay attention to, as well as the events in our periphery. This gathered information is used to form the type of partner we choose, the movies we enjoy, our decorating style, and the things that bring us satisfaction.
The subconscious is also responsible for creating comfort in our surroundings. Knowing your way around town, the ease of navigating your laptop, and anticipating the needs of your children can all be attributed to millions of moments that have been stored in your mind to be called upon when needed.
If you’ve driven down a difficult winding road multiple times, the muscle memory causing this task to become easier is provided by the subconscious. You don’t spend time thinking about this road when you aren’t on it, but your brain has saved massive amounts of information and provides that information to you when you return to the road time and again.
The law of attraction
The theory of attraction means different things to different people. This concept has been around for a very long time, and many books have been written on the subconscious mind’s ability to manifest what it is fed. The law of attraction first became mainstream when a book titled The Secret was featured on Oprah. The authors postulated that our brains have the ability to focus on anything, and receive it.
Material, emotional or abstract things are said to be at our grasp if we focus our powerful thoughts on what we hope to manifest. This popular book put the power of the subconscious mind into terms that can be easily understood by most people and set the stage for more of us to be mindful of our thought process.
Wielding your subconscious mind
It may surprise you to know that tapping into your subconscious mind and using it to your advantage is possible. With all of the things our subconscious mind can do, there is one thing it can’t do. It can’t distinguish a real event from a thought. Your thoughts are constantly feeding your subconscious information, which will be used to form your desires, beliefs, and reasoning behind your actions.
When learning the best way to use your subconscious mind, first identify what occupies your thoughts.
What is your self-talk like? Do you focus on your shortcomings, or do you focus on your attributes, success, abilities, and triumphs? What do you say to others in your mind? What things do you focus on the most?
You may find many things in your life that mimic the thoughts you focus on. When you consciously decide which thoughts you would like to project, your daily life will begin to mimic those projections.
Have pre-determined thoughts that are mapped out, and very specific. When you find yourself thinking about something repeatedly, the subconscious mind is absorbing this in abundance. You have the ability to intercept any thought and create a situation where your subconscious is only being fed helpful and positive information.
3 ways to tap into the subconscious mind
1. Use affirmations
Take some time to make an account of your emotional, personal and professional goals. Write down each one and be very specific. Use names, dates, places, and concrete details. Your subconscious mind will respond to the thoughts that have real emotional significance. Write down the best possible outcome for each situation using the present tense. Avoid including don’t, won’t, and not, even if they are being used in a positive sense. Think about what you want, not what you don’t want.
For example: “I don’t feel stressed at work.”
Instead, word your affirmations in this way:
- “I feel at ease during every moment I spend at work.“
- “I enjoy spending time with my coworkers.”
- “I am grateful for the support I provide my family.”
- “I receive positive feedback when I complete projects.”
- “My efforts are noticed and rewarded.”
Write your affirmations down, and read them daily. Eventually, you will be able to recall and recite your affirmations anywhere, at any time. When targeting your goals in any situation, focus on them repeatedly with positive emotional intentions to create a successful emotional outcome.
2. Practice visualization
This process is closely related to affirmation and can be done in conjunction with an affirmation or alone. Visualization can be described as imagining scenarios with desired outcomes, using intense detail and emotional connection. Visualization is a mental workout. When envisioning a movement, for example, the nervous system mimics responses that are present when physically engaging in the movement. Similarly, mentally rehearsing a speech, and imagining a calm, assertive charismatic delivery can improve your performance when giving the speech in reality. Many of the worlds most successful athletes, musicians, filmmakers, and artists attribute visualization to their success. Try some of these techniques, and make them your own.
- Find a quiet place and calm your mind. Imagine the scenario or event your visualization will focus on.
- Be as detailed as you can on the setting of your environment. Identify the big things, where, when, and who is there. Then get deeper. What are you wearing? How does the carpet feel beneath your shoes? What is in your drinking glass? How is the sun coming through the window hitting the furniture in the room?
- Assign positive emotions to this situation. How would you like to feel? For example, you are comfortable where you stand or sit. Everyone in the room is engaged with you; you feel confident and effective in your interactions. The outcome you desire is occurring, and it feels amazing.
- Repeat this visualization meditation often, and especially right before the event you have visualized.
3. Analyze your dreams
We spend an average of 20 years of our lives asleep. Dreams are your subconscious mind’s mechanism for filing your emotional responses to stimuli. By analyzing your dreams you will be better equipped to understand what your subconscious mind is using to form your conscious emotions. Dreams are a creation of your own mind. Though they may seem completely abstract, and unrelated to waking life at times, a bit of mindful contemplation can help us to better understand our subconscious. There are many ways to interpret dreams, but as they are so personal, figuring out how your own subconscious forms your dreams is essential in using them to your benefit.
- Identify the dream
- Name the dream
- record the feelings you experienced
- Identify the people and places involved
- Identify the events in the dream that would be impossible in reality
Ask yourself, how do these things relate to people, feelings, and situations in my life? A person may be a representation of an intense feeling because of who they are to you. For example, seeing your mother may signify a longing for security in a precarious situation. A specific place may reveal an important topic in your life because of the association your mind has with this place within the dream. Being in a place in your dream where you felt accomplished, like your college graduation, could reveal your desire for advancement in your career.
The feelings you experience while dreaming and relating those feelings to people and places can be the most telling. If you find yourself adrift in an ocean with a loved one and are struggling to reach them, your subconscious may be urging you to nurture that relationship. Once you learn how your subconscious mind creates your dreams you can apply your findings to your affirmations and visualization techniques.
Understanding and using the subconscious mind to your advantage takes a bit of practice but can prove to be an extremely effective way to improve every aspect of your life. Employing these techniques will foster a greater sense of satisfaction in your relationships and daily interactions.
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