The human mind is a complex and fascinating entity, and understanding how it works for us and against us is essential for personal growth and self-improvement. Two important parts of the mind that play a crucial role in shaping our behavior, thoughts, and beliefs are the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. The conscious mind is responsible for our awareness, decision-making, and control over our thoughts and actions. In contrast, the subconscious mind is responsible for the unconscious processes that shape our beliefs and behaviors. In this blog, we will explore the differences between the conscious and subconscious mind, understand their functions, and see how they interact with each other to shape our experiences and perception of the world. So, let’s dive in and unlock the secrets of the mind.
A Brief History of the Conscious and Subconscious Mind
The idea of a distinction between the conscious and subconscious mind can be traced back to the work of Sigmund Freud. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Freud developed a model of the mind where he used the analogy of an iceberg to depict the three levels of the mind.
- The tip of the iceberg depicts the conscious mind. This part of the mind consists of the processes we are aware of.
- Directly under the water is a small area that depicts the preconscious mind. Here is where thoughts and feelings that a person is not currently aware of but which can easily be brought to consciousness are stored. (ie. remembering the lyrics to a song when it comes on)
- The remaining part of the iceberg depicts the unconscious mind, the part that is completely hidden underwater and out of view. What is held in the unconscious mind consists of past experiences and memories that we are unaware of but heavily influence our thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
Today, the idea of the conscious and unconscious mind is becoming more popular because of the potential to use the unconscious mind as a tool for personal growth and self-improvement. The distinction between the conscious and subconscious mind is no longer only a popular topic in psychology but also in the field of self-help and spirituality, which is how I came to learn of its importance.
This post is going to pay particular to both the conscious mind and the unconscious mind (also referred to as the subconscious mind) because they are the most significant in determining our thoughts and behaviors.
What is the Conscious Mind? (with an example)
The conscious mind is the part of our mind that is responsible for our awareness and decision-making. It is responsible for our thoughts, feelings, and actions that we are aware of and can control. The conscious mind has the ability to process information, analyze it, and make decisions based on that information.
An example of the conscious mind in action is when a person decides to exercise. The person has become aware of the need to exercise and deliberately chooses to engage in physical activity. The decision is made with full conscious awareness, and the person can control and direct their thoughts and actions toward the goal of exercising. This is an example of the conscious mind working to achieve a desired outcome and taking control of thoughts and behaviors.
What is the Subconscious Mind? (with an example)
On the other hand, the subconscious mind is the part of our mind that operates outside of our awareness. It is responsible for storing and processing information that is not immediately accessible to our conscious mind. This information includes memories, habits, emotions, and beliefs that are stored and processed below the surface of our conscious awareness. The subconscious mind plays a crucial role in shaping our behavior and shaping our perception of the world. Unlike the conscious mind, the subconscious mind cannot be directly controlled, but it can be influenced through certain techniques.
An example of the unconscious mind in action would be when a person has a habit of biting their nails. This behavior is not a deliberate choice made with conscious awareness but rather an automatic response that is triggered by stress or boredom. The person may not even realize that they are biting their nails and may have difficulty stopping the behavior even when they try. This is an example of the unconscious mind influencing behavior without conscious awareness or control.
Another example could be a person who fears public speaking; even though they are aware of their fear and would like to overcome it, they may still experience anxiety and physical symptoms when faced with the situation. This demonstrates how the unconscious mind can hold beliefs and emotions that can shape our behavior even in the face of a conscious effort to change.
Understanding the Differences and How they are Connected
In short, the conscious mind is responsible for our conscious thoughts and actions, while the subconscious mind is responsible for the unconscious processes that shape our behavior and beliefs unknowingly. It might sound self-explanatory, but it’s not until we dissect the power of the unconscious mind that we realize how much attention we need to devote to the behaviors we do unknowingly.
The conscious and subconscious mind are connected in many ways. The conscious mind is the part of us that processes information that comes in through our five senses, while the subconscious stores and processes this information. Our conscious thoughts influence our behavior and decisions, and our subconscious beliefs are a hidden filter on how we interpret the world around us. This is significant because a large part of our present behavior is influenced by our unconscious mind. So if we have negative memories in our unconscious mind, those memories will unknowingly influence our perception of the world in the present. We cannot separate the two.
The Power of the Subconscious Mind
The power of the subconscious mind should not be underestimated. In fact, how we perceive the world around us comes mostly from our subconscious mind, meaning we have deeply ingrained beliefs and behaviors that are unknowing to our conscious mind.
The subconscious mind shapes our beliefs, habits, and behaviors, which can greatly impact our experiences and perception of the world. Therefore, understanding our subconscious mind and how to gain more awareness can be a powerful portal to improving our lives. The subconscious mind can be hard to control, though, because it responds to our emotions and experiences in the present based on past memories and traumas, which can lead us to destructive behavior if left unchecked.
Therefore, understanding the workings of the subconscious mind is key to unlocking its potential for personal growth and self-improvement. Whether breaking a bad habit, overcoming a fear, or achieving a goal, the subconscious mind can make it happen. The subconscious mind is also where all your emotions, habits, memories, and beliefs are stored, so understanding it is the foundation for making lasting changes in your life.
It is essential that we take the time to explore and understand the power of the subconscious mind and how it influences our lives. When we harness the power of the subconscious mind through techniques such as self-love, self-awareness, emotional maturity, and mindfulness, we can stop letting our subconscious mind control our lives and lead us down a destructive path. Training your mind to think positively and eliminate limiting beliefs will open up a whole new world of opportunity, enabling you to move closer to achieving your goals and living life on your terms!
Stay tuned for next week because I will break down the top techniques to change your subconscious mind!