In the world of psychology, the subconscious mind is defined as: “part of consciousness that is not currently in focal awareness.” The word “subconscious” comes from the French: subconscient, meaning “under the conscious.” Over the years it has become the focal point of many famous psychologists. Generally they all agree that the subconscious mind is a repository for information that our body captures through our all our senses. This information can be later retrieved when the conscious mind demands it. Huge amounts of research have been conducted in this area. At Yale University a recent experiment was carried out where the participants, college students, had their subconscious deliberately manipulated. On the way to college they bumped into a laboratory assistant holding books, papers and a cup of hot or ice-cold coffee. The assistants asked the participants for a hand with the cup. That was it. The students that held the cup of iced coffee rated the laboratory assistant as being much colder and less social, and more selfish than other students, who had held the hot cup of coffee.
The advertising industry has been using the power of the subconscious mind in decision making for a number of years now. In 1957, a Coke advertising executive had the bright idea of flashing the words: “Eat Popcorn” and “Drink Coke” during the screening of a film at millisecond intervals. The result was a dramatic increase in sales for that cinema. People tidy up more when there’s a faint smell of cleaning liquid in the air, more cooperative if they glimpse words like “dependable” and “support.” Recent studies also show that the brain uses the same pathways to execute both conscious and a subconscious act. However scientists have spent years trying to pinpoint where the conscious activity occurs in the brain. They’re still not all concurring on the exact location, but it seems to be located in the prefrontal cortex or “thinking cap” just behind the forehead. It is thought that the subconscious part of the brain is located much deeper in an area called the “ventral palladium” or “reptilian brain.” This is the most primitive part of our brain regulating primary survival functions such as: breathing, heartbeat, hunger etc. It’s the first “brain” to have evolved controlling our survival – flight or flight instincts. Thanks to this area of the brain we decide life saving acts in nanoseconds.
So what should you be doing when faced with tough decisions? Here are five tips to help you get a better balance in your reasoning and, hopefully, arrive to a better conclusion by balancing the conscious and subconscious minds:
1. Brain dump: Write down everything that comes into your mind at that instant. Don’t worry if it makes no sense. Have patience.
2. Meditate: Find a quite corner and just relax, breath by inhaling slowly through the nose and slowly out via the mouth. Repeat this action at least 10 times.
3. Draw a picture: Wake up your creative process, it doesn’t have to be Rembrandt, this will help you to tap into the subconscious mind.
4. Day dream: Take a minute and just stare at a picture, or landscape, let your mind wander and fire up your imagination. Don’t force it, it will happen naturally.
5. Don’t ignore: The tell tale signs of the unconscious mind at work are sometimes referred to as “déjà vu”, or a sudden, strong intuition about a person or something that was going to happen. It means simply that your unconscious mind in trying to reach you!