Many people do not realize the power of their unconscious minds. Not surprising really since no one really teaches us how to use it! We get taught how to use our conscious minds through logical, linear teaching that we get in school and other ‘learned’ institutions – but there are no schools for the unconscious.
I am defining the unconscious mind as the part of us that we are not aware of at this very moment. For example, you are probably aware of reading the words on this page – that’s a pretty safe bet! You may be aware of the chair that you are sitting on, or wherever your body is as you read this. You may be not however, be aware of your breathing, your heart rate or your digestion. Now as I mention those things you may become aware of them – or not – depending on how your conscious mind is focussed. Most of us are not aware of our digestion for example unless we have in-digestion, in which case our unconscious makes us very aware of that!
Your unconscious is responsible for all the things you do automatically – like driving your car, dressing, brushing your teeth etc. Originally you learned to do these things consciously – and if you remember, it was hard work when you were learning it for the first time – you were what we call ‘consciously incompetent’ at the task. Eventually, when you learned to drive your car for example, you became over time – unconsciously competent at it. You just don’t have to think about it any more. It’s automatic!
The unconscious mind also: - Runs the body – breathing, digestion, movement, B.P. etc. - Is self-preserving – hard wired to maintain instincts – our survival mode operates unconsciously - Generates energy – this becomes a problem when the energy can’t go anywhere and be dissipated. Energy is generated because of the ‘stress’ of survival. In the past (for example when we were hunter/gatherers) we required an energetic response that we now call ‘fight or flight’. We had to run away from our enemy or fight; or run to catch our dinner! - Includes the emotional brain -- anger, love, fear, sadness etc. - Perceives in whole or gestalts -- uses perceptions -- images, sounds, tastes, smells, and sensation as its means of communication. - Stores and organizes all memories and experience. - Automatic in the sense that keeps doing the same thing, unless you tell it to do something different; needs repetition in order to learn. - Generalizes its response to other similar situations
When we are stressed today, we tighten the same muscles that we used to fight or flee 10,000 years ago. But today there is ‘nowhere to run’ so the stress builds up. Here are some ways to ‘talk to your unconscious’ so that it can learn new patterns:
Give it positive pictures or images to focus on – relaxing scenes, imagined in the mind’s eye actually stimulate the brain relaxation centres.
Give yourself encouraging thoughts about what outcome you would like, and see it in your mind.
Reduce the energy of stress by doing something physical – anything is better than staying in the same position!
Change your emotional state by moving about, thinking differently, and paying attention to something different, preferably something out there in your world around you, not inside your head.
Make a connection with someone other than who or what is stressing you at the moment.
Teach your unconscious to relax – my CD "Learn to Unwind and Enjoy Your Life" at http://www.arfe.ca/ is a good start.
Have fun and take things less seriously – life is supposed to be good!