In psychology, the subconscious is the part of consciousness that is not currently in focal awareness. The word "subconscious" represents an anglicized version of the French subconscient as coined by the psychologist Pierre Janet (1859-1947), who argued that underneath the layers of critical-thought functions of the conscious mind lay a powerful awareness that he called the subconscious mind.
Understanding Your Subconscious Mind
Your subconscious mind is like a huge memory bank. Its capacity is virtually unlimited. It permanently stores everything that ever happens to you.
By the time you reach the age of 21, you’ve already permanently stored more than one hundred times the contents of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.
Under hypnosis, older people can often remember, with perfect clarity, events from fifty years before. Your unconscious memory is virtually perfect. It is your conscious recall that is suspect.
The function of your subconscious mind is to store and retrieve data. Its job is to ensure that you respond exactly the way you are programmed. Your subconscious mind makes everything you say and do fit a pattern consistent with your self-concept, your “master program.”
Your subconscious mind is subjective. It does not think or reason independently; it merely obeys the commands it receives from your conscious mind. Just as your conscious mind can be thought of as the gardener, planting seeds, your subconscious mind can be thought of as the garden, or fertile soil, in which the seeds germinate and grow.
Your conscious mind commands and your subconscious mind obeys.
Your subconscious mind is an unquestioning servant that works day and night to make your behavior fits a pattern consistent with your emotionalized thoughts, hopes, and desires. Your subconscious mind grows either flowers or weeds in the garden of your life, whichever you plant by the mental equivalents you create.
Your subconscious mind has what is called a homeostatic impulse. It keeps your body temperature at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, just as it keeps you breathing regularly and keeps your heart beating at a certain rate. Through your autonomic nervous system, it maintains a balance among the hundreds of chemicals in your billions of cells so that your entire physical machine functions in complete harmony most of the time.
Your subconscious mind also practices homeostasis in your mental realm, by keeping you thinking and acting in a manner consistent with what you have done and said in the past.
All your habits of thinking and acting are stored in your subconscious mind. It has memorized all your comfort zones and it works to keep you in them.
Your subconscious mind causes you to feel emotionally and physically uncomfortable whenever you attempt to do anything new or different, or to change any of your established patterns of behavior.
You can feel your subconscious pulling you back toward your comfort zone each time you try something new. Even thinking about doing something different from what you’re accustomed to will make you feel tense and uneasy.
Superior men and women are always stretching themselves, pushing themselves out of their comfort zones. They are very aware how quickly the comfort zone, in any area, becomes a rut. They know that complacency is the great enemy of creativity and future possibilities.
For you to grow, to get out of your comfort zone, you have to be willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable doing new things the first few times. If it’s worth doing well, it’s worth doing poorly until you get a feel for it, until you develop a new comfort zone at a new, higher level of competence.
Subconscious describes something that is just below your awareness, like at a subconscious level hoping your friend's boyfriend breaks up with her — you didn't even realize you felt that way until it happened.
If you are aware of something, you are conscious of it, like being conscious of your tendency to talk too much when you are nervous: you watch for it and try to control it. Most words that start with the prefix sub- are something “under” the root word: something subconscious is under or below your awareness. Maybe in time, it will surface — you might get to the root of why you get so nervous in the first place.
What is the subconscious mind?
The subconscious mind:
Think of the subconscious mind as the storage room of everything that is currently not in your conscious mind.
The subconscious mind stores all of your previous life experiences, your beliefs, your memories, you skills, all situations you've been through and all images you've ever seen.
The best way to understand the subconscious mind is to look at the example of the person who wants to learn how to drive a car. At the beginning he wouldn't be able to hold a conversation with anyone while driving as he would be focusing on the different moves involved. That's because he's still using his conscious mind to drive.
The subconscious mind; your Autopilot!
Few weeks later driving becomes a natural habit that happens automatically without needing to think about it. That person could even start using his cell phone or talking to his friends while driving.
This happened because the driving habit has been transferred to his subconscious mind and so the conscious mind become free. This allowed him to use it to talk in his cell phone.
The subconscious mind is responsible for the automatically triggered feelings and emotions that you suddenly experience upon facing a new situation. If you were about to give a presentation then all the fear and anxiety feelings you might experience are in fact launched and controlled by your subconscious mind.
The conscious mind is, on the other hand, responsible for logic, calculations and all actions that are performed while you are conscious. The subconscious mind also controls other functions in your body like breathing and heart beats.
Another good example that can help you better understand the subconscious mind is the process of breathing. Before you started reading the previous line your breathing was controlled by your subconscious.
I want you now to try and control your breathing for one minute. You will be able to do so of course. This time it was the conscious mind that was controlling your breathing,but when you let go of your focus your subconscious mind will takeover again.
How you can you program your subconscious mind
When the information about driving is stored into your subconscious mind it's stored as a program. Think of your mind as a computer and the driving information as software that can be run automatically whenever needed.
The same goes for lots of other activities and emotions. If someone annoyed you the installed program of anger is going to be launched and the result will be a behavior that you may regret later.
By programming the subconscious mind with new programs you can fix many problems in your personality. Just make sure that your autopilot is capable of running your system without ruining your life or causing you any problems.
Programming your subconscious can be done through hypnosis. The subconscious mind learns by repetition and not by logic. This is why you can convince someone to believe in something by repeating your argument again and again rather than using logic. For more information on this topic see the guide to the psychology of convincing
Rules of the subconscious mind
In order to best use the power of your subconscious mind you must first know how the subconscious mind works. The subconscious mind is governed by many rules.
Learning about these rules will allow you to make the best use out of your subconscious mind with the least effort. At the bottom of the article is a link that contains all the information you need to know about the rules of the subconscious mind.
Ego defense mechanisms
Just like your body has got its defenses against physical wounds and injuries your subconscious mind has got its defenses against emotional shocks and wounds.
These are called ego defense mechanisms or unconscious defense mechanisms. The ego defense mechanisms' main function is to protect your well-being and to help you overcome emotional shocks.
The subconscious mind and forgetting about someone
The main reason people stay broken after breakups is that they have false beliefs about relationships stored in their subconscious minds. In my book, how to get over anyone in few days, i described how can getting rid of beliefs like "the one" or "the soul mate" help you forget about anybody in few days.
As soon as someone gets rid of these beliefs he will realize that he can one day find another person who replaces the one who left him and so recovery happens.
Using your conscious and subconscious mind together
The conscious and the subconscious mind can make a great team if you used them together. The first can handle some tasks then assigns them to the second while the second can send feedback and messages about the task in the form of emotions to the first.
Emotions are no more than messages sent by your subconscious mind in order to notify you about something.
By learning how to make the best use of the cooperation between your conscious and subconscious mind your life skills will improve and you will have much more control over your emotions.