rewrite your negative thoughts

4 Simple Ways to Manage Your Unconscious Mind

Clients and students hear me talking about this all the time over here, so I thought it was an excellent time for a little refresher. 

What in the world is the unconscious mind? 

The unconscious mind is the power center controlling things in the background. 

Think about it this way; you don’t need to remind yourself to breathe or need to force blood through your veins. The unconscious mind handles that for you. 

It also helps you know the difference between the brake and gas pedal when you’re driving, recall how to ride a bike, dial your phone number, remember your birthday, retain your memories — and so much more! 

The unconscious mind processes boatloads (2 million bits) of information every single second so that the conscious part of the mind can focus on just the (relatively) few things that the RAS, the reticular activating system, filters out. 

If the RAS wasn’t filtering all that extra information, we’d live in a perpetual state of overwhelm.

As those 2 million bits of information per second come into our consciousness, we’re seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling whatever the experience is — we only consciously process 50 to 60 bits of that information. The rest — filtered out through deletions, distortions, or generalizations. 

Whatever comes into your consciousness, first gets to your unconscious mind and is then filtered out into your conscious awareness.

This is why it’s crucial that you do your best to manage what information goes into your unconscious mind.

Here are some important things to remember when training your unconscious mind:

  • The unconscious mind loves repetition — What you focus on most frequently is what the unconscious mind will latch onto.
  • The unconscious mind doesn’t process negatives directly. This is why positive, toward language, is so important. If you say,  “I don’t want to get sick,” your unconscious mind hears “get sick.” Repeat the thought and the words enough, and you may very well find yourself unwell.  Instead, you should focus on the positive, on “being healthy.”
  • The unconscious mind takes everything personally. If you’re thinking or talking about someone else, the unconscious mind thinks it’s about you. Watch what you think and say about others. If you complain about your neighbor, colleagues, or your partner, your unconscious mind believes that you’re essentially beating up on yourself. Keep all conversations constructive and positive.
  • Emotion always wins with the unconscious mind. This is why it’s important to focus on good-feeling emotions and recognize and combat negative and limiting beliefs. 

In NLP, we say that what you see, hear, speak, and feel is what you’ll get. This is why it’s so important you guard what comes in and where you focus. We’re unconsciously programming our unconscious minds every single second of every day with what we expose ourselves to. 

Now, there’s something called the critical faculty, or the critical wedge — it’s the part of you that cares to distinguish between fantasy and reality. When you’re watching a superhero movie and see the heroes flying around the city, we know it’s not logically true, even though we’re engulfed in the screen.

This is the critical faculty saying, “We’re going to suspend disbelief right now so that you can have the experience.” It’s the part of you that wants to believe that that person can fly.

The critical faculty’s job is to take an external experience and match it to internal programming. It’s essentially a protection mechanism because it’s not allowing things that aren’t real into your consciousness because imagine what our world would be like if we all believed we could fly?

The critical faculty is in place to protect you.

The critical faculty also acts as a gatekeeper between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. Say you want to set the alarm an hour earlier to go to the gym. Your conscious mind will set the alarm, and your unconscious mind will have you hitting the snooze button because it’s keeping you safe, “We don’t get up this early and go to the gym. Go back to sleep.”

The conscious mind is the goal-setter and the unconscious mind is the goal-getter. We can effort our way to change, but if you get your unconscious mind on board, it’ll feel so much easier and change will happen faster. It will take some time but it can happen. 

For better results, make a conscious decision to create an environment that’s positive and resourceful.

Here are four ways to create this environment for yourself:

  1. Use social media mindfully.
    If we’re not careful, we could end up scrolling through a social media feed each day that leaves us feeling not so great. Some of my clients stay off social media during our work together. We want to feel good when we’re scrolling through our social media feeds by following accounts that help create a positive experience.
  2. Engage in positive, feel-good conversations.
    Sure, tough conversations need to happen from time to time, but as a general rule, avoid conversations that leave you feeling disempowered, and look for conversations that are more neutral to uplifting. Negativity spirals where people are talking behind people’s backs or criticizing don’t serve you, because to your unconscious mind, you’re talking about you.
  3. Talk about solutions, not problems.
    By talking about your problems, it only serves to reinforce neurology around the problems. You’ll have more success in finding solutions when you get out of the problem and focus on a broader perspective. It happens to all of us, so the key is to get out of problem-mode as soon as possible because talking about the problem is never where the solution is.
  4. Watch your language.
    Watching your language means using toward, positive language as often as possible. And remember language includes thoughts and beliefs. So challenge those negative thoughts and limiting beliefs. Language is how we label experience, and if you can begin to label your experience in a way that’s focusing on what you want versus what you don’t want, and you do that consistently enough, then the RAS will create a filter that’s going to give you more of what you want. 

Following these guidelines is more simple than it is easy. And when you do, you’ll connect the dots and unconsciously program your unconscious mind. You’re programming it anyway, so let’s be intentional about it.

Starting today, I invite you to make conscious choices about that unconscious programming. Begin by watching your environment, being vigilant of what you’re seeing, hearing, speaking, and feeling. Because in the end, that’s the essence of the experience you’re going to get. 

If you liked learning about the unconscious mind and want to hear more, click here and press play

If you enjoyed this article on programming your unconscious mind, you’ll probably enjoy these too:

  1. The Perfectionist Trap
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  3. Change Can Be Hard — 3 Steps to Tap Into Courage

I'm Brenda Terry. I'm a personal development trainer and master coach who works with go-getters like you who want to achieve big results in your business and personal life.

If you're excited and ready to play bigger in business and kill it in life, I help you identify and change beliefs, patterns, and behaviors that aren't supporting your goals so you can make more money, find more joy, better manage relationships, and communicate more effectively.
I'm here to help you make the powerful, effective shifts you're craving- faster than you ever thought possible.

Learn how we can work together here.


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