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Subconscious vs. Unconscious: Which Is More Powerful?

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Summary: When it comes to the subconscious vs. unconscious mind, which holds greater power? The better you understand your mind, the more successful you'll be.

The subconscious vs. unconscious debate is a classic one. What’s the difference between the subconscious and unconscious minds? How can you tell them apart? And perhaps most intriguing of all: which of these mental processes is more powerful?

To answer these questions, you need to learn to differentiate between the subconscious vs. the unconscious. They may have similar names, but they’re actually quite different.

Here’s a list of things that will help you know the difference:

Understanding how the unconscious and subconscious operate will allow you to see which holds more power over your thoughts and actions.

Man lying on the ground contemplating the unconscious vs subconscious mind

What Is the Difference Between the Subconscious Mind and the Unconscious Mind?

Most people confuse the unconscious mind with the medical state of being unconscious. But the unconscious mind is very much its own entity

According to Freudian theory, the unconscious mind is composed of all the information stored within us that’s inaccessible to our conscious minds. And the unconscious mind governs more of our emotions and actions than we may realize.

In fact, Freud argues that people have built defense mechanisms within their minds to ensure they never discover their unconscious motives. Why? Because Freud believes the information stored in our unconscious minds is too difficult for us to consciously process.

What is the meaning of subconscious mind?

So, what about the subconscious mind? How does it differ from your unconscious?

Coined by French psychologist, Pierre Janet, the term subconscious refers to all information that is stored in the mind of which you’re not fully aware. This mass of information has been found to affect the ways we conduct our daily lives.

Your subconsciousness consists of desires, fears, and motivations of which you may not be directly aware.  

The subconscious mind has just as much of an impact on your decision-making, but unlike the unconscious mind, it can be shaped and trained. Since subconscious thoughts are accessible to the conscious mind, you can program how it affects your life.

Woman contemplating the subconscious vs unconscious mind

Are You Unconscious or Subconscious When You Sleep?

When you are asleep, you’re usually in a subconscious state. This is why you’re still able to react to disturbances in your environment. However, the degree of awareness during sleep varies from person to person.

The unconscious mind is much more challenging to access. Typically, an external stimulus is a cause for the unconscious mind to be triggered, such as an intoxicant or bodily injury. It’s very unlikely for a person to be unconscious without external impact. ​

Which Is More Powerful – Conscious or Subconscious Mind?

While it’s possible to consciously program your subconscious mind, it’s a process that takes time and persistence. Many patients of cognitive-behavioral therapy programs don’t see tangible results until several months into their programs because the subconscious is powerful.

Ever wondered why it’s so difficult to kick a bad habit like biting your nails or hitting the snooze button? Have you ever experienced how difficult it is to implement new habits like healthy eating or hitting the gym? Subconsciously, we hold ourselves back in ways we don’t even realize.

The subconscious is formidable because it’s been built over time. For your conscious mind to overcome these barriers, it will undoubtedly demand effort.

It is challenging, but it’s far from impossible. In fact, experts have devised several successful techniques over the years to help you train your subconscious mind.

You have to create your mental patterns with conscious, concentrated effort. But lasting change for a better, healthier life is always worth the effort. ​

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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.
Picture of 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.

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