(2nd of a series)

How does the subconscious mind work?

In our last post, we talked about the functions of the brain, the nature of the human mind and how the conscious mind works. We learned that the conscious mind is tasked with filtering ideas and analyzing sensory stimuli so that we do not become overwhelmed with the endless stream of information from the external environment.

Neuro-linguistic programming works because it takes into account the nature of the two parts of the mind and uses the strengths of each to accomplish specific goals like reversing phobias or removing negative memories.

The subconscious mind is often described as the larger body of the mind – the main processing center of all sensory inputs, impulses, life experiences, memories and more.

While it is true that the subconscious mind occupies about 80% of your entire mind, the conscious mind is still responsible for carrying out vital tasks such as split-second decision-making and logical analysis.

Your subconscious mind has a different set of functions:

  1. Bringing Things Together – The conscious mind is capable of tying together pieces of information in batches of five or seven at a time. The conscious mind is actually very limited when it comes to handling new information as it can become overloaded very quickly.

The brain’s solution to this problem is to pass on the information to the subconscious mind. Your subconscious then uses its holistic capability to create a larger, meaningful structure from the disconnected batches of information.

This capability can be seen most clearly when you have a “eureka moment” or when a great idea or plan pops up out of nowhere.

These sudden bouts of brilliance and mental clarity occur when your subconscious mind finishes processing specific sets of information. The processing itself takes place at a subconscious level so it would be difficult to detect it consciously.

  1. Memory Creation – The raw information that allows us to experience life is first fed to the conscious mind where it is shaped into a logical structure. The subconscious mind then takes this logical structure and encodes it as a memory.

How does the brain store memories?

It is said that whenever a new memory is created, the brain physically creates a neurological connection within the organ. So our memories don’t just “exist” in an abstract space called the subconscious mind. It is physically stored in the brain through a neuron-based connection.

How does the subconscious mind help us remember past experiences?

Our memories have submodalities or characteristics like volume, tone, color, etc. The subconscious mind further organizes these submodalities and assigns the appropriate emotions to the memory itself.

A memory is only the mental representation of a lived experience.

Your memory is not the event itself so expect your memories to be biased as they are created by your subconscious mind. Unlike camcorders and computer recording software, the subconscious mind uses an angle that puts you at an advantage during memory creation.

If our subconscious minds are trying to help us, why do have powerful, negative memories?

This has something to do with how the brain sees you as the most deserving individual in the world. Negative memories are stored because they help protect you from similarly bad experiences in the future.

Essentially, negative memories provide lessons that you can use to ensure better results in the future. In NLP, internal examination of memories is a must if you want to get to the root of problems such as procrastination, inexplicable anxieties, etc.

  1. Being Creative – People often associate creativity with activities like playing the piano or painting on a canvas. These are creative pursuits that make full use of the mind’s endless supply of creativity. But did you know that we actually use our creative minds in the simplest of activities?

Creativity is defined as “creating original ideas.”

How do we use original ideas?

An original idea is actually any formulation of your mind that will then be used as part of a solution to a present problem. Our creativity allows us to stretch our conception of what can be done so we can progress through life more easily.

Getting in touch with your creative side through artistic activities can help stimulate the part of your subconscious that deals with your imagination. Don’t take this part of your mind for granted as it can help you by generating creative ways to solve problems and achieve goals.

Remember: whenever you succeed at achieving something that you thought wasn’t possible, you should thank your imagination because it was simulating all possible solutions and scenarios for you, even in your sleep!