Subconscious Definition: The Hidden Power of Your Mind

5 minutes read -
Matt Coates
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Table of Contents
Highlights: How has the subconscious definition changed from Freudian psychoanalysis to today’s modern mindfulness techniques? Here’s how the subconscious can be tamed.

American psychologist William James compared our consciousness to a stream – it’s constantly shifting, constantly in motion, yet steady and unbroken. But what’s the subconscious definition?

In the past, research about human consciousness relied entirely on introspection and self-reporting. Since then, research techniques have expanded to support new ideas and theories that attempt to bridge the world of science and philosophy together.

To understand the subconscious definition in light of all this new information, here’s what you need to know:

Let’s explore both the conscious and subconscious minds to better understand their significance in our lives.

The power to move the world is in the subconscious mind.

– William James, Philosopher & Psychologist

What Is the Meaning of Subconscious Mind?

To break this down into digestible information and really understand it, we recommend first defining the subconscious through a basic academic explanation:

What is the definition of the subconscious mind?

Google defines the ‘subconscious’ as,

“Concerning the part of the mind of which one is not fully aware but which influences one’s actions and feelings.”

Basically, what this means is that the information you interpret through your five senses is divided between your conscious and subconscious mind.

What you focus on exists in your conscious awareness. What you don’t focus on (or are not aware of in the present moment) is stored in your subconscious.

Woman contemplating the subconscious mind

What is an example of the subconscious? Thinking without thinking

To paraphrase life coach and blogger Leo Gura, he explains the definition of the subconscious through a pretty interesting real-life example…

When you wake up in the morning to get ready for work, what do you usually do?

  • You get out of your bed.
  • Wash up.
  • Put toothpaste on your toothbrush.
  • Brush your teeth.
  • Put on a work outfit.
  • Maybe even have a breakfast cereal.

But I’m betting that while you do all of that, what’s really running through your mind are thoughts of,

  • What you’ll be doing at work.
  • Tasks you need follow up on once you get in.
  • Or a big meeting you need to prepare for.

You didn’t however, in the time you went from your house to your office, think of the actual process of brushing your teeth, or even having your cereal. Your thinking was elsewhere.

So the question remains, who is brushing your teeth, the conscious you or the subconscious you?

If you give the question some serious thought, you’ll realize that there are many areas of your life that are just happening in the background without you really putting in any conscious effort or even awareness to them.

Your consciousness, however, can be better defined as, the intentional thinking that is happening that you are aware of.

We now have a general understanding of the difference between the conscious and subconscious mind. Now for a brain teaser…

What does unconscious mean? And how does it differ from the subconscious?

thinking without thinking

Is Subconscious and Unconscious the Same Thing?

Your experience of life depends on your depth of information processing. This phenomenon was studied by American psychologist, Sigmund Freud.

He proposed the three-level mind model: the idea that the mind can be divided into three levels of awareness: the conscious, the subconscious, and the unconscious.

So we discussed previously that the conscious mind is our present moment awareness, filtered through the five senses. The unconscious mind is the root of our deepest, most suppressed memories and experiences.

So, what is the definition of the subconscious mind according to Freud?

Well, he believed that the subconscious mind is the seat of intuition, inspiration, and creativity.

It’s the part of your mind responsible for those incredible “Eureka!” moments — the part of your mind that assembles scattered information to create new and invaluable ideas.

Have you ever lost your keys? As you rack your brain trying to remember where you’ve put them, your conscious mind is at work.

But subconsciously, even after you give your conscious mind a rest, your subconsciousness continues the search until the light bulb goes off.

We’ve all had those moments, and as mysterious and inexplicable as they seem, they’re all a result of the subconscious mind at work.

What Is the Power of Subconscious Mind?

Vishen Lakhiani explains that your subconscious has the power to create physical changes within you on a molecular level.  

A recent study published in the Journal of Psychoneuroendocrinology discovered that gene expression can change with meditation. That’s how powerful your subconscious mind is.

In an experiment, study participants meditated for eight hours and saw both physical and molecular level changes observed in the body. Your mind really does have the power to change you inside out.

In fact, in the medical community, it’s widely believed that many of today’s physical diseases are directly correlated with mental health. How your body feels is driven by your state of mind, which you can control.

Woman meditating at the top of a hill defining subconscious

What Is the Role of the Subconscious Mind?

The subconscious is a memory bank with unlimited capacity. It stores information about every experience you’ve ever had.

It’s pretty incredible, really. Especially once you consider that this information has the potential to influence your conscious decisions. Now, this can be a good thing. But as we’ve mentioned, the subconscious is a double-edged sword.

So what can you do about it and how can you work with your subconscious?

Now unless you learn to control your subconscious mind, it can wreak havoc on your emotional and psychological well-being.

That’s right! Your subconscious can be controlled. And it can be controlled with conscious, focused awareness. In other words: mindfulness. Your subconscious is the root of suppressed desire. Unhealthy compulsions and habits can be reined in by using the power of conscious awareness.

This is hardly a new concept, yet it is very much underrepresented and in the scientific community. For almost a hundred years, we’ve been on a journey of researching learning to understand the subconscious mind and its inner workings. 

It’s led to many great concepts such as hypnotism, subliminal messaging, and subliminal reprogramming. Today, a lot of these concepts have now found some connected roots within science as well.

So when you know this and take intentional proactive actions to connect to your subconscious mind, you will have a whole new outlook on some concepts and understandings you have formed about life. 

If you are someone that takes personal development and self-growth seriously in your life, then think about this…

Concepts such as limiting beliefs, self-awareness, intuition, the list goes on…all will have new meaning to you once you really understand that the power of the subconscious mind seeps into your present consciousness.

Once we learn how to become aware of our inherent habits and motives, we can begin to make positive, healthy, lasting changes in our lives.

Are you ready to take control of your subconscious mind?

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Matt Coates

Matt Coates

Matt is a copywriter for Mindvalley. As a professional word putterer, he can be found constantly squeezing his creative juices to concoct personal growth narratives to transport people to a place where great potential knows no bounds. He is also on a quest to be seriously funny.
Written by

Matt Coates

Matt is a copywriter for Mindvalley. As a professional word putterer, he can be found constantly squeezing his creative juices to concoct personal growth narratives to transport people to a place where great potential knows no bounds. He is also on a quest to be seriously funny.

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