How Does the Subconscious Mind Work?
Scientists have known for decades that the subconscious (or unconscious) mind is more powerful than the conscious mind. Some of them even suggest that if you can access and control your subconscious mind, doing extraordinary things such as telekinesis will be like a walk in the park.
In the popular documentary What the Bleep Do We Know?, Dr. Joe Dispenza states that a healthy human brain can process 400 billion bits of information per second. However, we are only conscious of about 2,000 of those 400 billion bits of information. In simpler terms, most of the information of reality is processed by your unconscious mind.
The main reason why your subconscious mind processes most of the information about your environment is that your conscious mind isn’t powerful enough to process all the information of reality or fact.
If your conscious mind tries to process billions of bits of information at once, you will see or experience things that make your life very chaotic.
This is why your subconscious mind translates most of the information. It can filter out unnecessary things allowing you to experience life in a way that makes sense to you.
Subconscious Mind Power
The subconscious mind is often termed as the “autopilot” behind your conscious mind. It is where your mind stacks away all its memories.
It keeps your experiences, concepts, insights, and perceptions long after your conscious mind has forgotten them. From here come the feelings and notions that rule your conscious self, behaviors, habits, decision-making, and mindset.
Through its complex mechanism of neurological functions, the brain is responsible for vital emotions, including negative emotions. These include anger, happiness, grief, shock, and the like.
These interpretations give shape to the kind of behavior we exhibit. It influences whether a person cultivates positive thinking or limiting beliefs.
The New York Times published details about an experiment done by psychologists at Yale to see if they can alter people’s behavior. The study’s participants, who were college students, had no idea that their social instincts were being deliberately manipulated.
On the way to the laboratory, they bumped into a laboratory assistant holding textbooks, a clipboard, papers, and a cup of hot or iced coffee. The person asked for a hand with the cup.
That was all it took. The students who held a cup of iced coffee rated the hypothetical person they later read about as being much colder, less social, and more selfish than the students who momentarily held a cup of hot java rated the hypothetical person.
The study involving coffee is just one of many experiments that came to similar conclusions.
How to Control Your Subconscious Mind
One of the most popular psychologists is Sigmund Freud. His theory of the structures of the human mind is the most well-known.
Freud separated the mind into three parts. These are the id, the ego, and the superego. Freud believed our subconscious mind buried most of our emotions, beliefs, and impulses. He referred to it as the id.
Because of his belief, he considered the id to be the main driver for our behavior and personalities. Freud saw the subconscious mind and ego as scary and chaotic. This is an idea still widely accepted in modern psychology.
The unconscious mind and ego are part of who you are. They are part of your identity. When you become fearful of them, it makes it easier for them to control your behavior.
The ego is part of your mind that loves to control you. It’s always living in a state of fear due to its belief that it needs to fight against you for survival. As a result, it will lie and deceive you so it can stay in control.
If you want to stop the ego from controlling you, you need to learn how to integrate the ego with other identities of your mind. This way, the ego doesn’t feel so lonely and separated.
One of the first steps to calm your ego’s controlling behavior is to stop fearing it. Accept it as a part of you.
How to Reprogram Your Subconscious Mind
Behaviors that arise from the unconscious mind are very effective at influencing how you behave. This is why advertising companies are obsessed with subliminal messages. These types of messages are created by advertising agencies for the purpose of reprogramming your unconscious mind.
They can influence how you think. If subliminal messages didn’t work, do you think advertisers would waste millions of dollars per year on them?
Here are a few ways to subvert these subliminal messages to better control your state of mind and improve your mental well-being.
Take time out of your day to encourage yourself with positive affirmations. They can combat any negative self-talk by boosting your self esteem and bringing out your full potential.
These affirmations can be thought of or said out loud to yourself. They are typically short, meaningful statements like “I am strong,” “I am successful,” or “Today is going to be great!” Keep them short and simple, but still uplifting, so there’s no room for your mind to wander away from the positive message.
You could also listen to a motivational podcast on your way to school or work to get your mind ready for the day ahead.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that can help you slow down and really reflect on your emotional responses and thought processes.
Mindfulness means being intensely aware of the present moment, of what you are sensing and feeling. You suspend all judgment, and calmly accept whatever comes up for you. There are no right or wrong thoughts, feelings, or emotions when you practice mindfulness. You don’t need to react or analyze.
If you don’t have the time for a full mediation session, you can practice mindfulness just by taking deep breaths and tuning into your surroundings. Then you can reflect on whatever you are feeling in that moment and if it’s negative redirect your thoughts to something more uplifting.
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The Visualization Technique
The father of self development, Napoleon Hill famously said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” This technique serves to promote positive thinking by visualizing the life you desire. Visualization is a powerful way to magnetize your present self to the future goals you’d like to achieve. By “seeing” yourself in your mind’s eye as already having accomplished the goal you’re after, you can more easily bring into being that which you want.
Set aside several minutes a day to close your eyes and imagine your life after you have achieved your goal. Make it as vivid as possible so that you really believe in it, and yourself.
Surround Yourself with Positivity
While thinking or speaking positive affirmations to yourself is a good starting point for rewiring your subconscious mind, they won’t be much help if you’re bombarded by negativity throughout the day.
Obviously we can’t just get rid of every negative thought, but there are always opportunities to take action against anything that doesn’t spark joy.
A few things you can do to sprinkle more positivity in your life are:
- Listen to upbeat or relaxing music. There are plenty of good mood playlists on Spotify.
- Spend more time with loved ones and positive people.
- Eat healthier foods. The gut is connected to the mind and eating junk all the time can be harmful to your mental health
- Unplug for a bit. Social media is especially bad for self-esteem and can easily trigger negative thoughts. While it’s good to keep up with the world, it’s also beneficial to take a break or limit yourself to only a few minutes each day
- Try something new. Getting out of your comfort zone can encourage your mind to be less inclined to view new challenges in a negative light.
The unconscious mind plays a big role in how you behave and experience reality. If you want to have more control over your life, learn to acknowledge it instead of fear it.
Program your subconscious mind to block negative thoughts and instead, encourage the acceptance of positive affirmations. By casting aside the ego, this will help you achieve mental and emotional stability and clarity.
Also, by doing this, you become aware of your unconscious compulsive behaviors making it easier for you to control them.
Take control of your self-awareness and harness the power of your subconscious mind!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 9, 2015, and has been updated on December 28, 2021 for quality and relevancy.