Understanding Your Subconscious Mind | The rumors are true: The latest research in neuroscience shows that only about 5% (or less) of our brainpower is devoted to conscious, volitional thought. The rest of it is running the show behind the scenes. Not just keeping your body working, but thinking, solving problems, making associations, judging, and leading you to feel.
All of which, then, eventually, leads to your taking action, having reactions, having feelings, or feeling compelled to do certain things…. without ever having made a conscious decision about it. Or, commonly, the subconscious parts of your brain do all the hard work and then hand off the final, finished product to your conscious mind (who thinks they were in charge all along!)
Sometimes, this all works out, but other times your subconscious mind can wreak havoc on your life, leading to:
- Feeling frustrated that you can’t follow through with what you intend
- You are experiencing unwanted patterns in your relationships, career, or outcomes
- Feeling badly, and not really knowing why
- You have reactions to people or situations that are creating issues (particularly in your relationships)
- You seem to have inner obstacles that are holding you back from creating positive change
Without understanding what’s happening inside of you, subconsciously, it’s very difficult to create real and lasting change in your life. You can try to make changes, but if your subconscious mind has other motivations…. it’s going to win every time.
Understanding The Subconscious Mind
A core, foundational piece of any high quality personal growth work begins with digging into the subconscious forces inside of you that are influencing the way way you feel, think about behave. Traditional talk therapy, while it does have limitations, is very good at helping you get insight into why you do the things you do. Giving a voice to things you don’t usually consciously consider (much less say out loud) can give you understanding of yourself, and self-awareness of your subconscious.
Often, what emerges is that people have deep-seated, subconscious rules, expectations, assumptions, value-judgments and emotional triggers that they 1) have no idea they’re carrying and 2) are extremely powerful. It’s only by bringing these unseen forces out of the darkness and into your conscious mind that you begin to have power over them. [Learn more: Take our “What’s Holding You Back” online quiz]
Reprogramming Your Subconscious Mind
While developing this type of insight into yourself is essential if your goal is to create change, it’s not enough in and of itself. As I teach to all my therapy and life coaching clients, and in my online Happiness Class — insight alone is not enough to change your life. To make real and lasting change, insight must be coupled with intentional Music action designed to get you different results. (The domain of any life coach worth their salt!)
However, rushing into action without first understanding the other, deeper forces at work inside of you creates the dynamic where you try to make changes, and then fail. This all-action-insight-be-damned approach is common among many life coaches who do not have a background in counseling psychology.
But if you take the time and do the work to create self-awareness and insight into aspects of your subconscious mind that are creating problems for you, THEN you can very deliberately, consciously begin working to reprogram your brain, swap outdated ideas for new ones, talk yourself through challenging situations, implement different thinking styles, and support yourself through challenging emotions. [Learn more: Mindhacking]
Does it take hard work to learn how to do this? Yes, it does. However, the level of control you have over your outcomes, the shift in the way you feel, and the impact it has on your relationships and your career are enormous and for most people, well worth it.
Unlocking The Power of The Subconscious Mind
Another huge advantage of working to understand your subconscious mind and gaining self-awareness (and self-control) over what’s going on in there is that you develop a newfound sense of trust in your subconscious self.
Whether you know it or not, your beautiful brain is always, A L W A Y S, taking in information, making associations, thinking through problems, evaluating things, and putting things together. If you learn how to trust your subconscious mind, you tap into a wealth of information about the world — not to mention your inner wisdom.
Some call it “intuition,” and some call it “creativity.” I personally think of it as your mind doing what it was built to do: Think. It’s just that not all thinking is conscious.
People who are creative, or who have jobs that require them to solve problems, design systems, or come up with novel solutions find their work to become immensely more productive when they turn the reigns over to their subconscious minds.
Understand and Unlock The Power of Your Subconscious Mind
Because all of the above is SO vital to anyone serious about personal growth, and creating positive change, I decided to devote a whole episode of the podcast to the subject of how to unlock the power of your subconscious brain. Listen and learn:
- Why high level “solutions” will not be effective unless you understand your subconscious self
- Why your subconscious brain can sabotage your relationships, and your outcomes
- How to get insight into your subconscious mind
- How to redirect yourself if you have subconscious forces that are causing problems for you
- Ways of harnessing and strengthening the problem-solving abilities of your subconscious
- When to listen to your subconscious… and when to do a “manual override”
All that, and more, on this edition of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.