Oxford dictionary defines Subconscious as - "concerning the part of the mind of which one is not fully aware but which influences ones actions and feeling". The key word to remember here is Influences.
With this article I shall attempt to simplify the seemingly complicated concept of human subconscious mind, and its power on our bodies and overall health. The topic often feels otherworldly and an intangible, almost mythical abstraction that exists only as an idea. The americanisation of our lives doesn't allow us to feel "cool" believing that under the layers of functional thinking lies a powerful awareness called the Subconscious mind.
Now, let us not confuse the subconscious with the unconscious. The unconscious mind deals with functions that occur automatically and over which we have no control. These processes are not available for introspection. Memories, beliefs, patters, subjective reality are all driven by our unconscious mind. The unconscious mind stores the primal, instinctual thoughts that we cannot deliberately access.
The subconscious on the other hand is that part of our consciousness that is just not in focal awareness. It can however be recalled if we make a deliberate effort. Our subconscious is incredibly powerful and the good news is that it is possible to consciously program the subconscious mind. What most of us don't realise is that our brain is built to regulate our physical state as much as our mental state. It is constantly trying to filter and bring to our awareness only our pre-existing beliefs - called the Confirmation bias in psychology. In simpler words, our subconscious is the warden of our comfort zone. It does everything in its power to keep us in our comfort zone by presenting us with repeated thoughts and stimulus that mirror what we have done in the past.
We can establish that our subconscious is the realm where habits are formed, a realm in which you can seek the greatest success, happiness, health and healing. Here's a step by step guide on how to do it -
1. Set your Goals - in our heads we have an idea of things we really want to achieve in our lives, but then why does it feel so impossible to take action towards them? Precisely because these ideas are not at the forefront but stashed away in some corner of our subconscious. A great way to dive into our subconscious and pave the path for success is to start with defining your goals. Now, it is very important to know what a Goal actually is - a Goal is the end result; it is the big picture that generally remains consistent over time. It is not the Activity - an activity is the means to an end and the steps you take to reach your goals; these keep on changing over time. Often times people confuse Activities for Goal. For eg: "I want to eat a fruit everyday", "I want to go to the gym 4 times a week", "I want to change my job in the next 6 months" are all activities misuderstood for goals. Think of why is eating that fruit important for you, what will going to the gym help you achieve, how is changing your job going to improve your life and pen that down. That there is your Goal!
2. Positive Reinforcements - the words we speak and the language and tone we use to talk to ourselves in our head is constantly sending messages to our brain. You would have noticed two kinds of people - one who use negative form of sentences and others who use positive form of sentences. Mind you, we aren't discussing the thought behind the words, only the type of sentence from an English grammar point of view. For eg, let's take the concept of Time; some of us would always have a Not, Can't, Impossible to, Running out of, Short of..in the same sentence when taking about Time - "I just can't find time to go to the gym", "it is impossible for me to take out time to prep for my meals".. I'm sure these statements are true as well, in the situation of the person, but what it is doing is reinforcing your subconscious to keep you in your comfort zone. So once you have set your intentions next, get mindful about your words and make a conscious effort to use positive sentences like - "today I have this very important meeting but I will make time to hit the gym over the weekend", "I will take out 15 minutes every evening to re-organise and prep my meals for the next day". Now, you have sent an instruction to your subconscious.
3. Be inside your body - even in our dreams our mind is simulating external experiences, while in the waking state we are bombarded with information, thoughts about our daily jobs, discussions on happenings in the world, that we seldom are truly inside our mind and body. Why is it important, because it activates our parasympathetic nervous system which is the rest and digest state, in which we are at a heightened receptive state empowering the subconscious with positive messages. Some ways to do this could be running, practicing yoga, breath regulation exercises, gardening and even reading a book that has you completely engrossed.
4. Figure the root cause of your resistance - once you are in sync with your mind and body you are naturally more intuitive and it gets very easy to identify where all of your resistance stems from. Our subconscious stops us from pursuing something because we are holding a deep-rooted conflicting belief about it. Ask yourself why you feel better about not taking action for something you really want?
5. Build your Tribe - the way people respond to an idea of your success when you have started taking actionable steps towards it, talks a lot about where they really are in their lives. The key is to be aware that other people's fears are only a projection of their failure and have nothing to do with what you are or aren't capable of. Start surrounding yourself and conversing more with people who are your allies - people with similar ambitions and beliefs. Eventually you truly become and start thinking like people who you spend the most time with, so choose your tribe very carefully.
6. Think of your success as a present fact and not as a future plan - I don't mean you start saying "I look like Gigi Hadid", "I am the CEO of blah blah Pvt. Ltd." if they aren't a true fact. However, do start speaking of your goals in a context that you are already living it. For example, instead of saying "I hope to fit into my favourite black dress one day"start saying that "I have a plan and am working on my fitness now and soon I shall be able to fit into my favourite black dress". Instead of saying "Once I find a new job, I will have time to focus on my health, right now it is impossible", say "I am strategising and working towards bringing a work and personal life balance to my days, to focus on my health".
Just a simple change of words, people we surround ourselves with, having a daily mindfulness practise and setting goals the right way can totally change your life by programming your subconscious mind.