Most people have heard of the conscious and unconscious minds.
The conscious mind is responsible for thinking, decisions, and awareness of your environment, and makes up approximately 10% of the total mind.
It interacts with the subconscious mind, which is like a memory vault containing memories, emotional reactions to past events, habits, and more.
The following article covers some interesting information about this vital part of our body….
The unconscious mind uses imagery and emotions to communicate
Unlike the conscious mind (which is involved in rational, logical thought and decision making), the unconscious mind likes to communicate differently, using metaphors, imagery and emotions. This allows it to communicate with the conscious mind, e.g., via our “gut instinct”.
Nowadays, many scientists believe that dreams are the way that the brain sorts and organises the day’s activities. Others believe that dreams are training in avoiding or dealing with threats, as the amygdala is one of the areas most active while we dream, and it is associated with our survival. Imagery and dreaming can also allow our creative side to be expressed during sleep.
The unconscious mind manages many aspects of our body
Your unconscious mind works 24 / 7, and controls our heart rate, blood circulation, breathing, temperature regulation (e.g. redirection of blood to or from skin, sweating and shivering), enzymes and other chemical reactions in our cells, movement of the gut and digestion. It maintains our breathing, temperature, and heart rate at a relatively constant level unless circumstances require us to do otherwise (e.g. run or fight).
The unconscious mind keeps us safe
One of its main tasks is to protect us, and ensure that we survive. It is always on guard, even when we are sleeping (e.g. if we wake up when we hear an unusual noise in our home).
Our gut instinct can be the unconscious communicating to us that we feel afraid (because it detects a threat), or happy (because it does not detect a threat). We may not be consciously aware of the threat, but it has been noticed by the unconscious mind!
This function of our mind can be used to make change easier. If we link our desired change to increased safety (or health), the unconscious mind will work to ensure that it happens. An example could be linking an increase in exercise to the expectation of better health and weight management.
The unconscious mind is habit-based
The unconscious mind enables us to perform many daily activities as habits. These routines can make life much easier, and includes such activities as getting ready for the day (e.g. we might always have breakfast before our shower in the morning, and drive to work using the same route each day).
The unconscious mind also contains mental habits and beliefs, and we have a tendency to follow these, even when new information may become available. However, this can be overcome by applying the conscious mind’s critical reasoning to the new information, and re-examining the old habit or belief to see if it still holds true.
This is why hypnotherapy (talking to the unconscious mind) can be helpful in breaking old habits and establishing new ones.
The unconscious mind takes everything literally
The unconscious is like a young child (approximately 6 – 8 years old). It takes everything very literally, and as an instruction, and so if you say to yourself “I’ll never succeed” then that is what the unconscious mind will strive to achieve for you. Likewise, if you say “my job is a real headache”, you may well find that you develop headaches.
It cannot process negatives, and so if you tell yourself “I must not eat cream cakes”, guess what…this is interpreted as “I must eat cream cakes”, and you may well find that you are thinking of cream cakes much more than you would wish.
It is also influenced by your environment as a child, and what said or implied by your parents (or other significant people). If your parents implied that you were not as good as other people, then that may be stored in your unconscious mind, and influence your thoughts and self-esteem later in life. Of course, this belief can be changed if you wish.
The unconscious mind does not reason
The unconscious mind seeks to create what the conscious mind commands it to do. It is like a very capable, willing employee who works 24 / 7, does not think, but will do its best to obey whatever your conscious mind tells it to do. It will seek to achieve your goals, set by your conscious mind. These goals can come from your thoughts, emotions, and dreams.
The unconscious mind is based in the present
There is no past or future for the unconscious mind – only the current moment. (The conscious mind can however think of what has happened, and what is to come in the future). This is a very important factor for hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis, as there is little point in telling yourself that “I will be successful”, as this statement is in the future, and the future never comes. The unconscious mind thus never starts working on (or activates) the command to seek success.
The unconscious mind CAN multi-task
It has now been shown that we cannot multi task with our conscious mind. Instead, we quickly switch attention from one task to another, and then back again. This gives the impression of multitasking.
The unconscious mind can, however, make multiple connections between ideas and can truly multitask. This allows us to make new discoveries – e.g. the German scientist Kekule is reputed to have dreamt of a snake biting its tail, which revealed to him the structure of benzene (atoms connected in a ring-like shape).
If you would like to enquire about a hypnotherapy session, or simply wish to find out more information on whether therapy would benefit you, please email or phone me (Lisa) on firstname.lastname@example.org / 0403 932311. I will do my best to answer any of your questions. All with no obligation.