The Conscious & Subconscious Mind 101
Most brain specialists believe that our mind is separated into two distinct parts: the conscious and the subconscious. The conscious half is the one that is aware and in the moment. It’s the part of the brain that makes decisions and provided focus for real-world tasks. The subconscious, on the other hand, is the portion of the brain that operates under the surface. People such as hypnotists suggest that the subconscious part of the brain is the key to creativity and innovation.
Sigmund Freud first introduced the theory of the conscious and subconscious mind. The conscious mind, said Freud, consists of those thoughts people have in the present and is responsible for a large part of how we behave. The subconscious, however, was responsible for the primitive drives and impulses that sometimes govern our thoughts. He believed these thoughts out of direct reach of the conscious mind, working independently to guide our thoughts and actions during times when we are not consciously aware. Naturally this theory alarmed many people, for according to Freud, people are unable to control some of the actions initiated by the subconscious mind.
Techniques for tapping the subconscious mind can be valuable in helping people maximize their potential. It is widely believed that conditions such as anxiety and depression stem from uncomfortable thoughts about events that happened in the past and that the only effective way to treat these illnesses lies in bringing these thoughts to the surface. Freud introduced a process called psychoanalysis in which he sought to identify troubling, hidden thoughts within the mind and bring them to the surface through therapy. To cure the person, he thought, we must first discover what is happening below the surface.
Other techniques have sought the same result as Freud’s psychoanalysis, and more are being developed each year. Here’s a few of the most widely used techniques for tapping the subconscious:
Hypnosis attempts to tap the subconscious mind through a process called hypnotic induction. It is initiated by a series of suggestions, either administered by a hypnotist or self administered, that guide individuals to a greater state of awareness.
Affirmations are positive thoughts that individuals repeat to themselves continually to effect a change in their mental state. For a list of 21 Positive Self-Talk Affirmations click here.
Autosuggestion is a process by which an individual trains the subconscious mind to believe something, or systematically schematizes the person’s own mental associations, usually for a given purpose. For instance, autosuggestion thoughts such as “it doesn’t hurt,” can help train the mind to cope with pain.
There are many more of course, but the above are some of the most widely used. Another method that is gaining popularity is Subconscious Restructuring, which is a conscious process to gain control of your subconscious mind.
The key is to remember that there is much more going on than you are currently aware of. Hidden thoughts and resentments can not only cause a great deal of stress, but can lead people to act in ways that are harmful or inappropriate.