conscious vs subconscious mind

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

What is the conscious mind?

The conscious mind is the part of your mind that is responsible for logic and reasoning. If i asked you about the sum of one plus one it's your conscious mind that is going to be used to make that addition.

The conscious mind also controls all the actions that you do on intention while being conscious. For example, When you decide to make any voluntary action like moving your hand or leg it is done by the conscious mind.

So whenever you are aware of the thing you're doing you can be confident that you are doing it by your conscious mind. If currently there is a cup of coffee beside you and you decided to take a sip then all of this process will be done by your conscious mind because you were 100% conscious while doing it.

The conscious mind is also known to be the gate keeper for the mind. If someone tried to present you with a belief that doesn't match your belief system then your conscious mind will filter that belief. The same will happen when someone criticizes you or call you names.

If for example, someone told you that you are "dumb" your conscious mind will filter this statement and let you realize that you are not really dumb.

What is the subconscious mind?

The subconscious mind is the part of your mind responsible for all of your involuntary actions. Your breathing rate and heart beats are controlled by your subconscious mind.

If you started to control your breath on intention then know that your conscious mind took charge while if you were breathing without being conscious of the breathing process then know that your subconscious mind is in charge.

Your emotions are also controlled by your subconscious mind. That's why you sometimes might feel afraid, anxious or down without wanting to experience such a feeling.

Your subconscious mind is also the place where your beliefs and memories are stored. That's why affirmations make no sense and can never improve your beliefs. Affirmations are done on a conscious level and are always filtered by the subconscious mind because they usually don't match your belief system.

The right way to change a limiting belief is to convince the conscious mind logically to accept it so that it can pass to the subconscious mind and reside there. (see How to change limiting beliefs)

How to use the conscious and the subconscious mind together

There is a simple exercise that you can do in order to perfectly understand the difference between the conscious and the unconscious mind.

I want you now to start controlling your breathing rate as if you are going to apply a relaxation technique. While you were controlling your breath your conscious mind was in charge.

Now stop controlling your breath and let it flow naturally. When you forget about this exercise you will notice how your subconscious mind returns your breathing rate back to its norms.

In order to achieve personal growth the best thing you can do to yourself is to understand how both the conscious and the unconscious mind work together and then take advantage of their combined power.

One great example that explains how both can be used together is how emotions can be controlled. Since emotions are triggered by the unconscious mind its impossible to stop them but knowing that the conscious mind processes thoughts, which are the primary trigger for emotions, you can easily control your thoughts and in turn your emotions.

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Want to know more?

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