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The subconscious mind is sometimes wrongly referred to as the unconscious mind, but these have different roles and are two distinct phenomena. In some contexts, they may have similar meanings however, in others it’s good practice to know the difference in these terms.

The unconscious means not awake or lacking awareness.

The subconscious refers to thoughts and actions and brain processes that we carry out but are not directly aware of.

The subconscious is enormously powerful and works separately from the conscious mind and it also learns differently to the conscious mind. Scientists estimate that 95% of our brain’s activity, including decisions we make, actions we take, behaviours and emotions are influenced below conscious awareness.

This means if you make a conscious decision to change a pattern of behaviours it won’t automatically change subconsciously programmed behaviours.

The subconscious mind is like a virtual memory bank. It literally stores everything that’s ever happened to you, it retrieves and stores data and it ensures you respond exactly the way you have been programmed, making us fit a pattern consistent with our self-concept which encompasses all our beliefs.

The subconscious mind is subjective. It can’t think or reason independently and its primary purpose is to protect you both emotionally and physically and it does this whenever necessary, sometimes you may not even be consciously aware of it. It doesn’t distinguish between reality and fantasy so it can’t separate a real threat from a perceived threat so to keep us safe the brain will release the same chemistry regardless of the threat.

The subconscious is at work every minute of every second of every day, it never rests – when consciousness rests the subconscious is still at work. An example of this is we don’t have to think to breathe.

Another example of the subconscious at work is subconscious memory or automatic skills which always start off as a learned skill. For example, pianists or typists don’t have to look at the where the keys are once the learning has been committed to the subconscious.

As the role of the subconscious is to keep us safe, it will literally try and keep you acting and thinking within previously implemented programmes and will be extremely resistant to change.

The problem with this is that some of the programmes that are still running may not be serving your best interests any longer even though originally, they had a purpose.

It’s said that the conscious commands and the subconscious obeys so it wants to keep you doing what you do as it believes this is safe. So anything you want to change can be very difficult even if it’s bad for your health as the subconscious won’t know the difference and will be resistant to any change. 

That doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. There’s an old saying that goes ‘persistence overcomes resistance’, and this is certainly true in the case of the subconscious mind.

There are different ways of changing our subconscious beliefs and behaviour. One of the quickest ways of changing the subconscious behaviour, and is believed to be the strongest, is through hypnosis and also what is known as auto hypnosis. This is where you can bypass your conscious and go directly past what is known as the conscious critical faculty. When doing this, the subconscious mind being non-critical and non-logical will accept ideas and suggestions easier. 

Other ways of reaching your subconscious mind are through affirmations, meditation and visualisation, and also through using Binaural beats to hack your subconscious. Although these are a lot slower they can still be used to help bring about lasting changes and improvements.

If you would like more information on subconscious change and how I can help you, please contact me.

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