Our mind controls every aspect of our life. We constantly make complex decisions, take actions, form an entire belief system and maintain critical bodily functions by using our mind.
The conscious mind is used throughout the day to help us make decisions in the here and now, whilst the subconscious mind is our primary protector, and quietly governs our health and healing patterns.
The Conscious Mind
The conscious mind takes up around 10-15% of our total mind capacity and is where we make decisions in the here and now. This is a big part of what makes us human. We have the conscious ability to make complex decisions. Our conscious mind helps us decide where we want to go, what we want to achieve, and if our attitude is going to be positive or negative. Our conscious mind has no long term memory capacity and can only hold one single thought at a time. Our conscious mind helps us analyse and rationalise situations and is mainly active when we are awake.
Functions of the Conscious Mind:
Short Term Memory:
Used throughout each day to function, eg, Where is my phone; Where have I been today?
Helps us evaluate information presented to us at that time.
What shall I eat? Shall I go out?
Today I will eat healthy food. I will resist a cigarette. I will do five more minutes on the treadmill. I will resist an alcoholic drink.
Willpower helps us get through the short term predicament. It is often not helpful in the long term as our habits tend to be programmed into our subconscious. Our conscious mind is not as strong as our subconscious mind, so we slip back into habits we’d like to change at a conscious level.
The Subconscious Mind
The remaining 85-90% of our total mind capacity is made up of the subconscious mind. This is the part that can be compared to a computer hard drive which stores all the data from every experience we have ever had. Whilst you are reading this, your subconscious mind is carrying out a multitude of functions including monitoring and controlling your heartbeat, digesting your meals, detoxifying your system from foreign chemicals, delivering oxygenated blood around your body, and making sure that you breathe in and out on a regular basis. The subconscious will do whatever we ask or tell it to do. There are no limits as to what our subconscious mind will do, only limits we place upon it through the beliefs we have created throughout our lives. The subconscious cannot analyse or rationalise. We communicate with the subconscious when we dream, which is why our dreams often seem random and illogical.
The subconscious mind triggers our emotions, including when we feel happy, sad, anxious or fearful. Our emotions work in tandem with our conscious mind where perceptions are formed, so we choose how to think, but this is influenced by subconscious programming. Therefore, we are using conscious willpower when we choose to think differently, but to make these changes permanent, we must change our subconscious programming.
We create habits through repetition. Examples of this are eating, drinking, driving, and tying our shoe laces. Initially, we had to learn how to do these things with full conscious awareness, but eventually, they become habits and we do them on autopilot, or at a subconscious level, whilst freeing up the conscious mind to think about other tasks. We also create negative habits in the same way, such as smoking; nail biting and snacking when we are not hungry. In order to change these habits, we need to re-programme the subconscious.
Long Term Memory
Our subconscious mind is a vast storage area for everything we have ever done and every experience we have ever had. Our long-term memory influences many of our perceptions. Our subconscious tends to compare new information with old information, and if they do not match, it simply rejects the new information, as it likes things to stay the same. This is because one of the primary roles of the subconscious is to protect us.
So where do the conscious mind and the subconscious mind meet?
The area where conscious crosses over into subconscious is called the Critical Factor. The main purpose of the Critical Factor is to maintain the equilibrium, or, to keep everything balanced and working autonomously. It does this primarily to protect us and to enable us to function on a daily basis.
The subconscious mind retains everything we have learned, so that we can function every day. If it didn’t, we would have to relearn everything on a moment by moment basis; walking, talking, dressing, driving, eating...etc. We literally would not be able to function. Our Critical Factor keeps all of this ticking along in the background, like a computer hard drive running programmes. When new information comes in, the Critical Factor compares it to the old information it already has stored in the subconscious, and if it doesn’t match, it simply throws it out, as it is part of its job to keep things the same. However, on a conscious level we know that there are some parts of our programming that we would like to change, because they limit us from living the life we want.
The subconscious does as it is told, so in order to change the programs that limit us, we need to bypass the Critical Factor, and that is where hypnosis comes in.
How Does Hypnosis Bypass the Critical Factor?
We use hypnosis to get the mind into a very relaxed and aware state that allows us to bypass the Critical Factor. Some minds are more receptive than others, but all minds enjoy the effect of the Alpha State (the state of relaxation and peaceful awakefulness which we move through just before sleep) and drift off. It is during this peaceful awakefulness that we can communicate directly with the subconscious mind and re-programme those factors that are limiting us from being the best we can be.
During hypnosis, you maintain 100% conscious control of this process. Your conscious mind will continue to sensor every suggestion made during hypnosis, and will say “Yes, I’d like to become a non-smoker / reduce my weight / be more motivated” or whatever the suggestion may be, and when that choice is made, the suggestions will go straight through to the subconscious mind without having to match up to existing information, because the Critical Factor is having a relaxing rest.
If you hear a suggestion that doesn’t fit with your values, your conscious mind will simply reject it and it will not pass through to your subconscious mind.