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Blog: Subconscious Mind Vs. Conscious Mind and How to Make it Work For You

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Why do we have behaviors/patterns we want to change, we try to work on them and yet they do not change?

Because you are dealing with two minds, not just one.  You have a conscious mind and a subconscious mind at play and they are very different from each other.

The conscious mind learns creatively, processes information much more slowly and is only available about 1-5% of the time.  

Then you have the subconscious mind (it means below awareness).  It learns habitually, processes information very very fast 40 million bits of data from the environment per second, compared to the conscious mind which processes information at 40 bits per second and we use the subconscious 95-99% of the day!

Thanks for the science lesson Erin, but why does any of this matter, you may be asking?

Because if you want to change anything in your life from being less reactive with people, to quit eating things that you know aren’t good for you, or to attract a loving partner in your life you must understand these two minds and how to work with them, or your life/behavior/pattern will stay the same and you will be frustrated and think all of this stuff doesn’t work and give up!

Let me explain why that is.  

Let’s say that you have been wanting to stop drinking soda.  You have been drinking soda for a long time and your doctor told you that you have to cut back on the sugar intake.  Ok you say, I will stop drinking soda. I know I don’t need it, I want to feel healthier, I am going to stop you say.  

That is all fine and good, but when you do that you are saying that phrase with your conscious mind.  Why is that a bad thing you ask?

Remember the statistics from above?  The conscious mind processes slower and you are only using it about 1-5% of your day!  How can you expect to override the much more powerful subconscious mind with a few positive affirmations?

You can sit and say you will no longer drink the soda, you are healthy all day long, but it never gets into the subconscious mind, which is where it needs to go to create lasting change.

Think of the subconscious mind like a tape player and recorder.  
It’s the mental recorder that recorded the first 7 years of childhood while our brain was in a theta hypnotic state. We needed this mental software to learn how to “be” in our world. As children we had to quickly learn the language, social norms, how to communicate, and what was expected of us from our caregivers. We didn’t get to consciously choose what beliefs and behaviors we wanted to adopt.  They were chosen for us.

To really make the change you must access the subconscious mind directly.  Remember most of what is in the subconscious is just a recorded program from the first 7 years of your life.  You don’t even realize those old out-dated programs are still playing! They are unconscious to you. So you sabotage your success at what you want in life again and again because of those unconscious programs.

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct
your life and you will call it fate.” ~ Carl Jung – psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology
In other words, your life does not reflect what you want it reflects the programs you were given.

So how do we make change for the better, change that actually sticks?  There are several answers to this so I will give you a few.  

  1. Make the unconscious conscious.  Svadyaya. Babies don’t feel guilty if they make a mess, or cry.  They don’t feel shame or not good enough. We didn’t either as babies.  We picked those things up along our journey from our early programming and now those stories have become true for us.  So if we can work on the self study, svadyaya Work on bringing those unconscious patterns to the conscious mind we change.  How? Let’s say you over-reacted to your boss or spouse today.  You caught yourself later and said, Why did I do that?  I hate when I do that.  Then you usually go and feel guilt or shame for doing that.  

Here is your opportunity to make it conscious.  sit and write out the behavior or pattern that you did.  Date it. I snapped at my partner today about something silly and that didn’t feel good.  I am ready to shift this behavior.  

Does any memory pop up from the past as you think about this?   Don’t hold onto it, but rather allow it to move through and let it go.  Maybe you made a connection to this current behavior and where it came from in your past.  If not that is ok.  

Then write a new statement that will support a new behavior (let this just come to you) for instance, I am working on being less reactive to him.  I am allowing myself to be more at peace. I no longer need to control others to feel safe.

Then write how you will be able to practice these new statements today.  If I feel like I need to react to something my partner does, I will remind myself that this is just an old pattern and I will instead think of something I appreciate about him/her.
Not going to be perfect at it.  Try to pick only one behavior to work on at a time, maybe even for a month.

2. And most importantly-get to the subconscious when it is most available to be re-programming.  Right when you first wake up from sleeping to waking and right before you go to bed from waking to sleeping.  At both of these times you are naturally in the hypnotic state of theta brain wave. When you are in a theta brain wave you are more able to be creative and imaginative.  It is the one time you bypass the conscious mind and your programming goes right into the subconscious.

Take out your smart phone and record yourself saying about 10 different mantras based around the one thing you want to change right now.  You can change something else later, right now try to focus on one thing. Let’s say it is eating healthy again. Put headphones in and listen to your recording, or a pre-recorded one am and pm.

You could say things like: I am enjoying trying new foods that satisfy me.  I love eating well for my body. I no longer need sugar/gluten/dairy/fill in the blank.  I love my healthy radiant skin. I love my balanced energy. I sleep so soundly now because of my new eating.  And so on.   

3. Lastly,  clearing the beliefs in the subconscious through the energy work myself and my coaches do.  We do this work all day long through my online 12 week and longer programs and privately one-on-one.  We go in and literally help clear those blocks that are in the subconscious.

Repetition is key with these exercises.

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Erin McGuire


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