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Psychology | The subconscious mind

We don’t think about most of the things that we do. We don’t think about walking, we just do it. Once we have learnt to ride a bike or drive a car, that too seems automatic. At first it’s hard, we have to try again and again to get it right, but once we have it, the subconscious takes over and it’s easy.

The subconscious mind doesn’t always make life easy for us though. If you get up on a stage to perform or in front of a group of people to make a speech, the subconscious can make you very nervous. This reaction can range from ‘butterflies’ in the stomach to outright panic. How do actors cope? They do it all the time. That is the point, they have done it before and know they can cope with whatever happens. In some cases, they want the audience to laugh at them or at least laugh with them.

The stage makes a difference, we are more in control when we are higher than the audience. Subconsciously we recognise our place in society and are quite primitive and tribal, deep down. In a court of law the judge will often be positioned up high above the rest of us to symbolise their superiority.

The subconscious mind helps us to automate our daily lives, but can make us nervous for an interview. We don’t like to be judged, we like to be in control. The subconscious will make us really nervous if it thinks our survival is threatened. Survival is our purpose in life. We have split second reactions sometimes when we’re driving that can save our lives in an emergency. We are only partially in control of what’s going on. The car stops in front of us suddenly stops. Do we think about stopping or does the foot automatically hit the brakes? Is it automatic, beyond our control? When you get in the car to drive to the supermarket, you are in control, you decide where you’re going. You don’t think to yourself as you drive, left here, right here, take the third exit at the roundabout. You just do it. You do however make the decision about where you’re going.

The subconscious mind is only concerned with protecting you in the here and now, it doesn’t protect you in the long term. So you know that injection for flu will protect you from a nasty disease for a long time. It’s a good idea. Right? Your subconscious has a different idea and thinks the needle will hurt. The only way to convince it that it won’t hurt is to relax and have the needle time and time again. Just like riding a bike, repetition will convince your subconscious; that you aren’t going to get hurt. Not much anyway. Most things that make us nervous can be overcome by repetitively facing them. Even jumping out of a plane with a parachute on.

One bad experience and your subconscious will reject that experience as harmful and make you react to it  in a very negative way. You might even have nightmares to remind you not to go through that experience again. The subconscious mind helps us to live our lives in a sort of automated way, but it does get it wrong or it doesn’t get it right.Then we relive the experiences where the subconscious didn’t protect us, in our dreams. Dreams can be rehearsals for the real thing, they can also be warnings to avoid situations or events in the future. Most of the time we are unaware of our inner selves, but our dreams put us in touch with the subconscious sometimes.

Our subconscious minds are also like a judge, constantly judging us; our lives and our experiences. If it judges us to be bad, it will make us feel guilty. If we want to change the judgement of the subconscious mind, we must change the evidence. The subconscious is like a God inside all of us, constantly judging our behaviour, reminding us that our purpose, is to simply survive. Individually and collectively…

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments box.

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  1. Pingback: It is Monday, it must be psychology | Mike10613's Blog

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