Since the ‘More for parents’ night in February I have been refreshing and updating my understanding of the subconscious mind… Wow! It is amazing!
The true test of whether you understand something is to explain it to a kid and see if they get it! This is totally my forte, so if you are up for it, read this to your beautiful child (aged 9 – 12) and let’s see if they ‘get it’…
“One way of explaining how your mind works is to divide it into two parts: your conscious and your subconscious.
Your conscious mind is like the tip of an iceberg, because it makes up a tiny part of your thinking (about 5%). That means you are only aware of about 5 thoughts out of every 100 thoughts you think!
Your subconscious mind is the rest of the iceberg, the bit you can’t see, the bit that is under the water. This bit makes up almost all of your thinking (the other 95%).
The thoughts you know you are thinking, or the thoughts you are ‘aware of’ are in your conscious mind. You might be aware of what you are reading or hearing right now, or you might be thinking of something that happened at school today, or you might be noticing what your brother is doing as he walks past.
All of your conscious thoughts end up in your subconscious. In fact they go in there as soon as you stop ‘thinking’ them. You can get lots of these back out of your subconscious by ‘remembering’ them.
Here try this…
What is your mum or dad’s phone number?
What is your address?
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
The answers to these questions were thoughts that came out of your subconscious into your conscious and then when you focused on the next question they went back into your subconscious again.
All the thoughts you are not aware of right now are in your subconscious.
Some subconscious thoughts keep your body alive and safe. You don’t have to consciously think, ‘breath’, ‘digest’ and ‘move your foot’ when you drop something.
Your subconscious also stores all your memories, experiences and beliefs.
Neuroscientists (scientists who study the brain) tell us that our subconscious mind is way more powerful than our conscious mind. Some suggest it is thousands of times more powerful!
What does this mean exactly?
Okay let’s look at an example…
If you say in your conscious mind, “I am good at reading” but your subconscious mind already believes, “I am hopeless at reading” then your subconscious mind will send a message to your conscious mind to tell you that you are a liar and that you are not good at reading.
In fact your subconscious mind will also find evidence or examples that support the belief that you are not good at reading and you will remember these in your conscious mind. Like when you had to do Reading Recovery in Kindy, or when you were on a low level when everyone else in your class was reading chapter books or when someone laughed at you reading out loud. When you remember these experiences you feel terrible and your conscious mind agrees, “Yep, I am hopeless at reading.”
Another powerful thing your subconscious does is it makes your beliefs come true for you. That means that whatever you believe in your subconscious will seem to be true to you, even if it isn’t true in real life.
Let’s use a different example…
If you believe in your subconscious, “Dad doesn’t love me now he has moved out” then the part of your subconscious that is in charge of taking in information from your senses and sending this information to your conscious mind (called the Reticular Activating System) will SEARCH for evidence to prove that your belief is true so it can tell your conscious mind that it is right! Even though there is heaps of evidence that your Dad loves you no matter what your conscious mind doesn’t know about this or doesn’t notice it because your subconscious ONLY points out the stuff that matches up with your beliefs.
Eventually over time the very thing you believe might actually come true in real life. This is because of your attitude, behaviour and what you focus on.
Let’s use a third example…
Let’s say you have to do a speech at school. If you believe you are not good at speaking in front of your class then you won’t enjoy working on your speech, you won’t put your best effort into it and when you are at school waiting for your turn, you’ll be saying to yourself in your conscious mind, “I’m hopeless at speeches. I don’t want to do this. I’m going to stuff this up.” Low and behold when you get up to do your speech you are scared, your voice is quivering, you can’t remember what you are supposed to say because you are focused on how bad you are at speeches and after one or two painful minutes you sit back down. Immediately your subconscious points out what went wrong, “My voice was shaking, everyone knew I was nervous and I forgot most of it! I am hopeless at speeches!” To top that off you get a low mark, one of the lowest in the class so now your belief has come true in the real world!
I’ll leave you with a question…
What would happen to you and your life if you believed stuff like…
“I am good at reading. My Dad loves me no matter what. I am good at speeches.” And more positive stuff like this?
Well you can! If you want to change a belief here are the steps:
Use your subconscious to make your life amazing – you deserve it!”