What is the conscious mind?
You use your conscious mind to analyze and reason. It's the logical part of the mind that is constantly thinking, judging, and criticizing. You experience your five senses through your conscious mind. It is the part of the mind that is analyzing the content of what you are reading right now. When the conscious mind wants something, it uses willpower to achieve it. But when the willpower isn't strong or consistent enough to get results, then it often times means that the subconscious mind is fighting against the conscious mind. When that happens, the subconscious almost always wins.
What is the subconscious mind?
Everything that has ever happened to you whether you consciously remember it or not, is stored within the subconscious. Your emotions are generated from the subconscious. All of your beliefs about yourself, the world and everything in it are stored in your subconscious mind. The subconscious also guides your autonomic nervous system which is the part of the nervous system responsible for control of the bodily functions not consciously directed, such as breathing, the heartbeat, blood flow, organ function and digestive processes.
What is the purpose of the subconscious mind?
The primary purpose of your subconscious mind is to protect you both physically and emotionally. It does this fiercely and often times without your even being consciously aware. It doesn't distinguish between an emotional threat, like public speaking, and a physical threat, like a grizzly bear about to attack. In both scenarios, the subconscious will automatically put the autonomic nervous system into a fight or flight response to protect you. This can cause your heart rate to increase, adrenaline and other hormones to be released into the body so that you can either fight or get away. It's all done in an effort to protect you.
How does the subconscious mind control stress?
The subconscious mind automatically puts your body into the fight or flight response whether you are experiencing a life-threatening physical stress or an emotional stress. This is why it is important to reduce the stress in your life. Stress causes your body to be stuck to varying degrees in the fight or flight response which puts unhealthy strains on your body and suppresses the immune system. Over time, this can lead to serious health issues. The key to reducing stress lies in your subconscious mind. If your subconscious does not feel threatened or fearful in any capacity, then it keeps your body in a state of homeostasis which means a healthy and balanced state.
Is the conscious or subconscious mind more powerful?
Your subconscious mind's primary role is to protect you which is another way of saying, keeping you out of danger. When you experience an emotional stress, it means that your subconscious mind is interpreting the event or thought that triggered the stress as dangerous or threatening. For example, some people experience stress when public speaking or flying on an airplane. This means that there is an underlying belief in the subconscious that there is some sort of threat when doing these activities.
Even if the person's conscious mind uses reason and logic to try and make themselves feel better, the subconscious mind still senses a threat and therefore, puts the body into a stress response. The result can be increased heart rate, adrenaline rushes, sweaty palms and everything else that goes with a fight or flight response.....even though their life is not threatened. It's really important to note that even though the conscious mind uses willpower to try and convince the person that giving the public speech or flying on an airplane is fine, it couldn't control the outcome. That's because the subconscious mind, the protector, will typically win when it doesn't agree with the conscious mind.
How is the subconscious mind running your life?
Your subconscious mind holds all of your beliefs about yourself, the world - everything. It uses those beliefs to protect you emotionally. Many times you aren't even aware of what subconscious beliefs are stored in your mind. The subconscious beliefs formed as the result of your life experiences. If you had a good experience with something, then your subconscious likely is programmed with positive beliefs around that topic. If you had a negative experience, then it likely senses danger around that topic and wants to protect you in similar situations.
When you want something on a conscious level such as to lose weight or change careers, if your subconscious mind holds a belief that any part of that goal is threatening, then it can prevent you from permanent, long-term success. The tricky part is that the subconscious mind's beliefs are often outdated or simply not true because many of them were programmed in early childhood when the child's mind interpreted information incorrectly. Therefore, the key to creating changes in your life is to reprogram the subconscious mind with beliefs that agree and support what you are consciously wanting.
To illustrate this concept, let's say that you were bitten by a dog as a child and ever since you have had a fear of dogs. No matter how much you consciously tell yourself to "not be afraid" and reason with yourself that "all dogs aren't bad", you cannot help but to physically go into varying degrees of the fight or flight response. When a dog is nearby your heart races, your palms sweat, and you emotionally feel afraid. It's not comfortable to be around dogs no matter how cute, small or seemingly harmless.
In this example, you consciously told yourself to not be afraid of dogs, but it didn't matter because the subconscious still believes that dogs are scary and dangerous. That belief was programmed into the subconscious when you had that traumatic experience of being bit by a dog and ever since the idea has never been updated. If it had, you would not be afraid of dogs. Until the subconscious programming is updated, you likely will never change.
Take this example of being bit by a dog and apply it to any sort of early childhood experience such as an embarrassing moment in front of your 3rd grade class, your parent's divorce, sexual abuse, or an authority figure such as a teacher, coach or parent telling you that you were incapable. Can you imagine how you could program the subconscious mind with beliefs that could impact your adult life? Every person is unique and therefore, while one person can have an experience and it have a negative impact on their life, another person can have an identical experience that doesn't negatively impact them.
How does the subconscious attract or manifest experiences?
Just like the subconscious mind avoids situations that it considers to be dangerous to you, it also attracts you to situations and people that prove it's beliefs to be true. In other words, whatever beliefs are stored in your subconscious mind will be played out in your life because in essence, they are your truths or your reality. This is why two people can be experiencing the same exact situation but walk away with two entirely different accounts of that experience. It's because they are literally viewing that experience through the lens of their subconscious beliefs.
For example, let's imagine that an 8-year-old child experiences the divorce of her parents. It's a fairly amicable divorce, but the child wasn't told very much by her parents about why the divorce was happening. She decides that it must be her fault and in her decision, she also decides that it's because she is "not enough" to keep them together. This belief gets stored in her subconscious and as she matures into a young woman, she is still dealing with a subconscious belief that she is "not enough". It gets played out in relationships and her career. Each time a setback occurs, she interprets it as the cause of her not being enough. In fact, she actually is attracted (subconsciously) to situations that prove that she is indeed, not enough because that is her belief, her truth.
Until the subconscious mind is reprogrammed with a different belief, life can be a vicious cycle of wanting something on a conscious level, but avoiding it on a subconscious level. It can be frustrating because ultimately you sense that you have the capability to change, but you just can't seem to make it happen. The key to making the change is changing the subconscious mind's beliefs.
How do you get the subconscious mind working for you?
There are many ways to program the subconscious mind so that it supports you in getting what you want on a conscious level. Using affirmations repetitively, guided meditation, traditional therapy, EMDR, hypnotherapy, EFT, art therapy and a multitude of modalities and techniques can be used to heal the subconscious mind of outdated belief patterns. Some work better and more rapidly for some people - but everyone's experience is unique. Even life experience can change the subconscious mind because when one experiences something different than what's programmed, it can formulate a new belief.
At SoulStarter, we offer EFT Tapping, positive affirmations and guided meditations to help you go to the root of all change - the subconscious mind. We love these tools because they are effective, easy-to-use and affordable. Almost anyone can incorporate these into their daily life no matter how busy they are which makes them valuable because they actually get used. They also complement other methods that you may be using like working with a therapist, a personal coach, a program, etc. and can often enhance their effects. And we cannot say it enough, reducing stress is one the best benefits to give yourself. Guided meditation is one of the most pleasant and easy ways to reduce stress and it only takes a few minutes to do.