Secrets of the Subconscious
by Victoria Sebastian | published Feb. 2nd, 2021
Have you ever foundyourself driving home on autopilot? Have you taken the path multiple times before and don’t think twice about what turns to make? This is the doing of your subconscious mind.
Our subconscious mind is constantly working behind the scenes. It’s what keeps us breathing when we sleep. It stores all of our memories, habits, fears and phobias as Chad Chesmark explained.
Chad Chesmark is a performer, speaker, hypnotist and author of the novel “How to Predict the Future by Creating it Yourself."
As Chesmark and others agree, we have this powerful tool in our head that many people don’t fully understand or know how to use. It is time that we unlock our subconscious mind and use it to our advantage.
Defining the Subconscious
“Our mind is made up of two parts, the conscious and the subconscious,” stated Chesmark.
Regina Pally is a physician and physiatrist who founded the Center for Reflective Communities. She also wrote a novel on the topic called “The Reflective Parent: How to Do Less and Relate More with Your Kids.” She added on the subject saying that 99 percent of our brain activity occurs below the level of consciousness. Most of what we say, do and perceive occurs non-consciously.
She explained more about the differences between subconsciousness and consciousness.
“The subconscious mind operates more on the basis of speed rather than accuracy. It’s automatic,” Pally said. “The conscious mind, by contrast, is slower and much more able to be accurate. It requires effort.”
"The subconscious mind operates more on the basis of speed rather than accuracy."
For example, when I speak to someone, I don’t think about every word I'm going to say beforehand. It comes out naturally because of my subconscious. However, writing this article I am using conscious thought — I am thinking about what quotes to use and how to best format a sentence.
This is not all the subconscious can do though. In a way, it can also predict the future.
Your subconscious mind is constantly making predictions that you may not be aware of.
“Your mind is trying to make sense of the world because you are not always taking in all information. Sometimes it’ll just assume the information based on past events,” Chesmark said.
These assumptions are predictions. Although they are made often, they are not always the most accurate.
Say you are sitting in bed and in the corner of your eye you see a bug climbing on the wall. Once you look over, you come to find it is just a black mark.
You are used to seeing bugs in your room, so your subconscious mind told you this black dot was moving. Or maybe you have a fear of bugs and your subconscious mind alerted you to a potential threat.
“This is how the mind works. The mind takes in sensory data and then creates our perceptions that are based on our past experiences,” Pally explained.
"The mind takes in sensory data and then creates our perceptions that are based on our past experiences."
This process is instant — our mind wants us to be able to respond as quickly as possible to events that occur in our life. In a way, it is like a survival instinct.
If our subconscious mind is constantly making incorrect predictions though, we are not getting full advantage of this tool. Luckily, there are ways to improve accuracy.
Training the Subconscious
As Pally explained, your subconscious makes predictions based on past experiences. However, past experiences will not always apply to the present.
If you grew up constantly being bullied for your looks, this will stay in your subconscious mind. When someone goes to compliment you as an adult, your subconscious may say the compliment was sarcastic when that wasn’t the case.
Therefore, in order to improve the subconscious predictions, you must shed these old ways of thinking; it's like breaking a bad habit.
“You first initially have to recognize that your unconscious mind can be inaccurate,” Pally said. “You have to be able to accept that and take note of times when your unconscious mind predicted inaccurately.”
This takes a lot of effort. You have to push these automatic subconscious thoughts into consciousness and critique them. It is not something that will improve overnight. As Chesmark stated, you have to convince your subconscious mind to change and align with what you want.
Chesmark suggested hypnosis as a way to make this process slightly easier. He has had people come to him asking for help to lose weight. With hypnosis, he can promote decisions that will change this person’s body. For example, it changes their brains' programming to reach for healthier foods rather than junk food.
This can even apply to those who struggle with anxiety or depression. I struggled with social anxiety greatly in my earlier life. When I talked with a stranger, my subconscious mind would predict that this person disliked me because I accidently slurred a word.
After years of recognizing these wrong predictions, I was able to improve my subconscious thoughts. I even considered getting hypnotherapy at one point. Now, I no longer struggle with social anxiety to such a great extent. This just further supports that you can train your brain for the better.
Mind and Body
Your brain is complex, but not magical. It can’t predict things such as the winning lottery numbers, but it can help with your overall safety and well-being.
This is why it is important to be aware of the subconscious mind and its accuracy. Not only can it affect your thinking, but it can also affect your actions.
“The brain alters the predictions, that alter our emotions, that alter what action we are going to take," Pally explained.
Let's go back to the example of the bug on the wall. Say it is actually a bug — one that you are highly allergic to. Your subconscious mind brings attention to it so that you get up and get to safety.
The mind is so powerful and hard to understand that sometimes we want to believe it is magic. But we have more control over our subconscious than you think, so work to improve it and use it well.