What is the unconscious mind?

There are various models to describe the levels of the mind from Freud’s Conscious preconscious and unconscious, to Jung’s collective conscious. One simple way that I like to understand the mind is conscious and unconscious. The conscious mind is everything you are currently focused on and the unconscious is everything else stored in your mind – short and long term memories, ideas, learning’s, instincts etc. All these things are accessible to the conscious mind when you require them. Like the saying it’s on the tip of my tongue – you know you know it; you’re just having trouble accessing it at that moment.

Every sensory input we have is stored somewhere in the neural makeup of the brain and some suggest that emotional memories are also stored in the body as well (like a physical reaction at the memory of a particularly emotional event like your heart pounding). The more we access a neural pathway, the stronger that pathway gets, to the point where the brain creates a myelin sheath around the neural pathway to strengthen it and speed it up. Stop using a particular pathway and, like sought after real estate, other neurons will take over.

unconscious mindWhen you are making a choice, let’s say what to eat for dinner, you might ask yourself what do I want for dinner? Your unconscious mind will then do several things, it may recall your favourite foods or it may remind you what you have in the cupboard or it could remind you that you had chicken last night and you don’t want that again.  In fact what it drops into your conscious mind is an endless combination of choices dependant on your life experiences.  Sometimes those experiences are useful and help us to make good choices.  At other times the memories and beliefs we have may lead to bad decisions or choices.

Another quirk here is the law of consistency.  When we have a belief we look for supporting evidence that our belief is true, even if that belief was created from some obscure event from our childhood that we no longer consciously remember.  So let’s put this into an example.  Sarah aged 4 won’t eat her peas, her father yells at her and tells her she is a very naughty girl.  Sarah believes her father (although she could have decided not to believe him in that moment and had a very different outcome).  Because of the law of consistency, Sarah now notices every time she does something wrong and gets told she is naughty.  She does not notice when her mother tells her she is a good girl.  Because of this belief she starts doing more naughty things until she becomes a problem teenager.


So we are all running around making decisions based on beliefs about ourselves made generally before the age of 5.  Some of these will be positive and useful beliefs, others will not.  To gauge if your unconscious beliefs are working for or against you, have a look at the results you are getting in your life and business.  If things are not working out the way you want, call and make an appointment to identify where your past beliefs are holding you back and change them for good.  In this way you can start creating the results you want made from adult decision making processes.


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