Anybody who drives will have no doubt experienced one of those autopilot journeys.
You arrive at home, at the office, or at the grocery store without really any clear recollection of how you got there.
Something within you simply recognized a familiar pattern and took over without you even needing to think about it.
That part of you was your subconscious.
This powerful and ever-present force within us all silently sits behind the scenes of our life, calling most of the shots. That’s why the more you learn to trust your subconscious mind, the easier life can become.
In this article, we’ll run through 9 important tips to help you trust the wisdom of your subconscious mind.
What is your subconscious mind?
Before we run through some important tips to learn how to trust your subconscious mind, let’s briefly look at what exactly your subconscious mind is.
Most people probably give it very little thought but our subconscious is such a significant part of our mind.
In fact, it’s believed that your subconscious mind controls almost everything you do and accounts for around 95% of your brainpower.
You can think of your subconscious mind a bit like a database for everything that isn’t in your conscious awareness. It’s almost like a backup drive which records your memories, experiences, skills, fears, and beliefs about everything you encounter in life.
Because of its capability to store so much information, its job is also to sort through the potentially limitless data we come across on a daily basis — deciding what it should alert the conscious mind too.
In that way it’s the guidance system for all the potential threats and opportunities it notices in the world around you. That’s why your subconscious often ends up directing your entire life without much of your awareness.
It’s also why becoming more aware of the unconscious parts of you is super important to all areas of success, including in your career, finances, relationships, health, and happiness.
So, let’s look at the ways you can learn to better trust your subconscious and enhance its power to improve your life.
1) Go with your gut
Intuition is sometimes regarded as this almost mystical force — like a fortune-telling style message that we get, which later turns out to be true.
But another far more practical explanation for this common experience is that your gut feelings come from your subconscious.
Far from being a spookily accurate “guess” about a situation, what is happening is far more precise. It’s just going on silently behind the scenes so that your conscious brain doesn’t quite understand it all.
To give you an example, in a previous relationship I had a strong suspicion that my partner was cheating. But there wasn’t any actual evidence to back that up.
I just had this “knowing” that I couldn’t shake. It turns out, I was right, and he was indeed cheating.
But without any strong signs he was cheating, how could I have known this?
Well, the truth is that your subconscious mind picks up on a wealth of information that your conscious mind couldn’t possibly deal with.
It then feeds the information that it thinks is most important at any given time to your conscious brain, so that you can make the right choices and take the most appropriate action.
According to the famous psychologist Sigmund Freud, consciousness is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our mind. But below the water is a huge amount of detail stored in your subconscious that you are not aware of most of the time.
Think of it like the terminator who can scan a room and instantly absorb a phenomenal amount of data.
Your conscious mind couldn’t possibly handle this amount of detail. So it needs your subconscious to review and process everything for it. It only passes on what it thinks you need to know at this moment in time.
When you get an instinct, gut feeling, or intuition about something, what is happening is that your subconscious mind is pulling information out of the vast filing cabinet within your brain.
Just because you are not fully aware of why you ‘know’ something, it doesn’t mean this feeling cannot be trusted.
So if you are wondering how to get answers from your subconscious mind, the key is to pay attention to these more subtle intuitions that you experience. Don’t feel the need to second guess or rationalize.
Learning to accept your instincts and initial feelings about things in life is one of the best ways to trust the subconscious mind to do its job.
2) Learn the characteristics of your conscious and subconscious mind
If you ever feel like there are several characters that reside in your brain, then in a way, you’d probably be right.
For example, according to the whole brain thinking approach, our minds are made up of four distinct segments which are intellectual, intuitive, rational, and instinctive.
Because our mind functions in several distinct ways, it can seem like there are many different people in our heads at any given time— with different traits, perspectives, and ways of handling things.
This might account for the internal conflict we can often feel is taking place.
Conceptualizing different parts of our brain and thinking of its unique characteristics can help us to be more aware of the different roles taking place within the mind at any given time.
Our conscious mind thinks, feels, acts in the present, and is capable of criticism.
Because of this, it’s understandably the part we are most aware of. The subconscious mind on the other hand is way more extensive, but its inability to do these things means we tend to ignore it.
Your subconscious is almost like that quiet person sitting in the corner of a really loud and raucous party.
You may not pay them much attention amongst all the noise and action around you. After all, they seem pretty unassuming, and there are way more lively people vying for your attention.
Think of these outgoing party guests as like your conscious mind, always chattering away. Whereas your subconscious mind is more of a strong and silent type.
Potentially easier to ignore, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a wealth of talent and information simmering below that quiet exterior.
Recognizing that it’s not always who shouts the loudest that should get your attention in life helps to find a better balance between listening to your subconscious and conscious mind.
Both are equally valuable. It’s more about knowing which character to turn to depending on the situation that you face.
3) Understand what your subconscious mind does best
You wouldn’t use a hammer to screw together a bookshelf and you wouldn’t use a screwdriver to hang a picture.
Which tool is better? Neither, because it depends on the task at hand.
The same goes for our conscious and subconscious minds.
Your conscious mind accounts for everything that you are currently aware of — the sensations, perceptions, judgements, memories, feelings, and desires you experience.
If the conscious mind is like the shopfront, responsible for all the daily interactions and encounters, the subconscious mind is like the storeroom out back that holds most of the stock.
It doesn’t have any interaction with the outside world but it can be relied upon to deliver up the goods.
How powerful is the subconscious mind?
Well, research published in Psychological Science found that your subconscious can look around in a crowd and within half a second it has figured out an incredible amount of information.
In less than a blink of an eye, it has gauged which way people are looking, what they’re focusing on, what they’re interested in, and even how they may be feeling.
This instant intuitive reading of people, places, and situations is known by scientists as “ensemble coding”.
When you think about it, you can totally understand how important this skill would be to our survival as a species. We need to know straight away potential threats and who we can trust.
This is a biological in-built talent that you have, and all the more reason to listen to your first impressions, rather than consciously argue them away or dismiss them.
4) Know that your body already trusts your subconscious mind
As a child, you learn to walk, run, speak, dance, swim, and ride a bike.
All of these skills are transferred to your subconscious mind, ready to become habits that you can call upon at any time without giving it much thought.
You don’t have to consciously tell yourself to put one foot in front of the other. You trust that your instinct knows how to walk and will communicate all the technicalities to make it happen within your body.
That “instinct” comes from your subconscious.
Not only does it help you to remember any practical skill you learn, it is also responsible for so many vitally important automatic functions in your body.
In fact, your subconscious mind has something called a homeostatic impulse. This regulates everything from your body temperature, to your breathing and even your heartbeat.
So even when it feels like you may not trust your subconscious, or you hesitate to follow it’s guidance — just remember that on some level you are always trusting it.
Your whole being trusts your subconscious so much that it is responsible for maintaining the delicate balance of hundreds of chemicals in your body to keep you functioning exactly how you should.
5) Learn your subconscious mind’s limitations
Learning to trust anything in life is never about blind faith. That’s why it’s always important to know the limitations of your subconscious mind too.
Your subconscious mind tries to regulate both your physical and also mental self, through constantly filtering information. But it does this in a way which reaffirms your preexisting beliefs.
As a psychological phenomenon, this is called confirmation bias.
Whilst this makes total sense to your subconscious mind, there’s an obvious flaw with only presenting you with the information that favours your existing views — what happens when those beliefs aren’t accurate, helpful, or even healthy for us?
This is why many of us find it so difficult to change our habits and beliefs. They are deeply ingrained in the silent part of our minds. The subconscious becomes the gatekeeper to our comfort zone and can stop you from doing anything that conflicts with your current life view.
Without the insights that our conscious mind has — like the ability to critique — your subconscious mind also takes everything literally and beliefs what you tell it.
Knowing that your subconscious mind is capable of misguided beliefs that can be destructive allows you to use your consciousness to override this and decide what you want to reprogram or change within your subconscious.
6) Communicate with your subconscious mind
We’ve said how the subconscious is a sponge for information, so how do we make sure it’s feeding us the “right” information?
Communicating with your subconscious mind needs to be done in a specific way — it needs to be done through emotions rather than thoughts alone.
Trying to have a chat with your subconscious right now isn’t going to work unless those thoughts are charged with genuine emotion.
Emotion is the language of the subconscious and only the thoughts that are fuelled with strong feelings will make it back there. That’s how to make your subconscious mind believe something.
The good news is, that means it responds to things like our passions for something. For example, if you have a strong goal you are working towards, a burning desire to learn a new skill or improve a talent.
The bad news is that the same can be said for negative emotions too and negative feelings are often stronger than positive ones.
That’s why if you’ve ever had your heart broken, you may feel like you carry around the scars long after you have healed. It is actually your subconscious that carries around those scars of emotional upset or trauma.
Learning to reinforce our positive emotions and reframe our negative experiences can help to make sure your subconscious is working for, rather than against, you.
7) Visualize your success
Visualization is a great subconscious mind exercise to help get your subconscious mind onside and working towards whatever it is that you want. That’s because the brain cannot actually distinguish between the real and the vividly imagined.
You feed it your desires and it provides you back the information, details, and opportunities you will need.
When we show our subconscious our goals and focus on the positive emotions alongside that, we give it an instruction to follow. It can then get to work. But it needs this crystal clear image before it can start.
You may use a Pinterest board, journaling, vision boards, or even your imagination to bring your subconscious attention to what it is that you want.
Whenever you visualize, try and make it as “real” as possible and really feel the feelings that go with it (remember, that’s how your subconscious knows it is important)
So when you see your future self, pay attention to:
- What you are wearing
- How you act
- How you feel
- What you say
- What you are doing
The more details you can give your subconscious, the better.
8) Reprogram your thoughts to serve you better
Visualization is by no means the only way to “talk” to your subconscious mind. There are other simple techniques to harness the power of the subconscious.
We’ve seen just how susceptible to negative emotion the subconscious can be, so reprogramming the negative beliefs we have collected is important.
How to reprogram your subconscious mind?
You can start with better self-talk.
Of course, we’re never going to be able to totally get rid of our negative thoughts or emotions, but we can try to be aware of them and reduce them.
Positive affirmations or mantras are a way of feeding the subconscious “happy” thoughts — remember it believes what we tell it, even if your conscious mind is critical or sceptical.
There is even MRI evidence that shows certain neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmation — which suggests that you really are rewiring your brain.
9) Work on reducing your anxiety
When our anxiety levels rise, the conscious mind tends to take over.
This can really impact your ability to do the tasks that your subconscious mind knows how to perform well. When you get lost in fear, your performance is likely to suffer.
Let’s say you have a piano recital, an important sports game, or your driving test — these are all skills that your subconscious takes care of.
But when stress or anxiety gets too much and so our conscious mind hits the override button and takes control.
Using techniques to stay calm and to help you trust your subconscious can prevent this from happening and allow you to perform at your best.
Different things may be more effective for you, but mindfulness and relaxation techniques such as breathwork, meditation, or exercise have been proven to help reduce stress.
Basically the calmer you can remain the easier it is to stay connected to your subconscious.
Can a gifted advisor help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to someone with special intuition.
I know this from personal experience…
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