What you need to know about your unconscious mind

Don't think of a blue rhinocerosYour unconscious mind is on your side

It wants to serve and protect you. Even when the objective result of what it does is harmful, it believes it’s doing it for your own greater good.

Most of the time, your unconscious mind is in charge

We go through life mostly on ‘autopilot’. The conscious mind can look ahead to future consequences, plan, and make up rationalisations, but it’s your unconscious mind that acts in the moment. (for more about this, see my article ‘You are the elephant, you are the rider’ or read Jonathan Haidt’s book The Happiness Hypothesis: Putting Ancient Wisdom to the Test of Modern Science.

Your unconscious mind wants to do what you ask of it

If you don’t give it any instructions, it will take its orders from orders from elsewhere – advertising, peer pressure, parental ‘programming’. And, it will take the line of least resistance and do exactly what you ask of it and no more – so be careful what you ask it to do.

Your unconscious mind works with feelings, images and metaphors, rather than logic, words and abstract concepts

The unconscious mind will only respond to abstract concepts (ie nominalisations) when it has examples of those concepts to work with.

Your unconscious mind learns through intensity of emotion, and through repetition

Your unconscious mind does not process negatives

Negation is a logical, conscious-mind concept. So when someone says “Don’t worry”, the unconscious mind hears “Worry”.

Follow this instruction: Don’t think of a blue rhinoceros!

© 2011 – 2019, Andy Smith. All rights reserved.

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