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The Conscious and Subconscious Mind

The conscious portion of your mind consists of about 10% of our thinking ability and the subconscious portion of your mind consists of about 90%.

Your conscious mind commands and your subconscious mind obeys.

Your subconscious mind is an unquestioning servant. It works day and night to make your behavior fits a pattern consistent with your emotionalized thoughts, hopes, and desires. Your subconscious mind grows either flowers or weeds in the garden of your life.

We have one mind, but there are two parts to our mind: conscious and subconscious. The conscious and subconscious parts of the mind could be compared to an iceberg. The portion of the iceberg above the surface of the water is the conscious portion and the ice beneath the water is the subconscious portion.

Our conscious mind consists of what is available to our conscious thinking process. It is the analytical, rational, logical, two plus two is four mind. Temporary memory and will power resides in the conscious mind. It is that part of the mind that says, “I should stop smoking.” “I should lose weight.” “I should not be afraid of elevators.”

The subconscious mind is not logical and it contains our permanent memory, emotions, habits, automatic responses, feelings, instincts and impressions. The subconscious part of the mind controls breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and other natural functions of our body. The subconscious mind is concerned with bringing about our deepest wishes expectations and desires even if they are contrary to logic and our own well being.

In addition to our memories, habits, and impulses, the subconscious also contains that which we have inherited from our ancestors. We inherit through the subconscious our race knowledge, instincts and impulses.

The subconscious never dozes, never sleeps and keep us going by directing our breathing, heartbeat, etc.. Once the subconscious mind accepts an idea, it begins to make the idea a reality. It works the same for good or bad ideas. When applied in a negative way, the subconscious can be the cause of failure, frustration, unhappiness and even illness. Your subconscious mind is like the soil which accepts any kind of seeds – good or bad. It is the seat of your emotions and the storehouse of your memory.

The subconscious mind does not care if the body hurts, but rather that the deepest needs are met. If our greatest need is for affection and the only time we experience affection is when we are sick, we may get sick in order to receive the affection that we need. This occurs even though we don’t like being sick and the reason is unknown.

It is important to note that the subconscious can not tell the difference between a wish and a fear. If a fear becomes dominate in your thinking, the subconscious will interpret that fear as a wish and attempt to make it happen. I never tell a person not fear something or worry about something because that is like saying “Don’t think of the colour red.” As soon as I do that you can not help but thing of the colour red. I do suggest that when you fear something or began to worry about something that you replace that thought with something good because two thought of emotional content can not continue because one will take over. Make sure that the thought that takes over is a good thought.

What is the conscious mind?

In order to understand the subconscious, you must first understand the conscious. Visual representations of the subconscious mind often show an iceberg, and this is a very telling analogy. The small part above water is your conscious mind, this part is all you can see. It seems like this is how big the iceberg is.

The conscious describes our perception of our surface thoughts. The conscious mind encompasses your thoughts, habits and emotions. The things that you feel and notice are your conscious mind at work; however, the reason behind why you are having these thoughts is attributed to the subconscious.

Following the iceberg analogy, the 90% that lies beneath the water, the mass holding up the 10% that can be seen represents the subconscious mind. Our conscious decisions and beliefs are what make us the person we are. The countless smells, sights, interactions, feelings, and sounds around us, whether we’ve noticed them or not are working behind the scenes to form who we consciously choose to be.

For example, if you decide you would like to become a better cook, your conscious mind has made this decision. Your subconscious mind has collected information that made you want this skill. You may have witnessed the warmth and appreciation for a person who cooked at a dinner party. You may have noticed a coworker bringing in home-cooked healthy meals, and noticed them getting in better shape. A friend may have started a side business selling baked sweets, and you’ve witnessed them becoming a happier person by working with their hands to create these treats that are bringing happiness to others. Your subconscious mind learned and recorded how you felt while having these experiences and used that information to give your conscious a positive association with cooking.

What is the subconscious mind?

Your perception of who you are has been created by the subconscious mind over time. The information your subconscious uses to form your expectations, desires and beliefs are beyond our awareness and control. This process is automatic.

The human brain processes about one thousand trillion logical operations per second. You don’t have to consciously will your heart to beat, or your stomach to digest food. All of these processes are controlled by our incredibly diverse brain systems. Our subconscious picks up on everything we notice and directly pay attention to, as well as the events in our periphery. This gathered information is used to form the type of partner we choose, the movies we enjoy, our decorating style, and the things that bring us satisfaction.

The subconscious is also responsible for creating comfort in our surroundings. Knowing your way around town, the ease of navigating your laptop, and anticipating the needs of your children can all be attributed to millions of moments that have been stored in your mind to be called upon when needed.

If you’ve driven down a difficult winding road multiple times, the muscle memory causing this task to become easier is provided by the subconscious. You don’t spend time thinking about this road when you aren’t on it, but your brain has saved massive amounts of information and provides that information to you when you return to the road time and again.

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Binaural Beats and Isochronic Tones

What are binaural beats? When you hear two tones, one in each ear, that are slightly different in frequency, your brain processes a beat at the difference of the frequencies. This is called a binaural beat.

Isochronic tones are regular beats of a single tone that are used alongside monaural beats and binaural beats in the process called brainwave entertainment. At its simplest level, an isochronic tone is a tone that is being turned on and off rapidly. They create sharp, distinctive pulses of sound.

Our brains are home to billions of neurons, which are specialized nerve cells that use electrical impulses to send messages to each other.

British physician Richard Caton first noticed that the brain had an electrical current in 1875, and by 1924, German neurologist Hans Berger had found a way to read the current by developing a machine called an electroencephalograph (EEG). When attached by several pairs of electrodes to a patient’s scalp, an EEG captures the electrical activity in the brain, then amplifies the signal and records it on a graph.

Types of brainwaves

Berger was also the first to recognize that the electrical activity emanating from the brain had different rhythms (or waves), which varied according to the person’s state of mind and what they were doing, or in some cases, to brain diseases such as epilepsy. Research has since found that men, women and children of all ages and cultures experience the same characteristic brainwaves, and although a mix of brainwaves are present at all times, one brainwave state will predominate.

Brainwave speed is measured in Hertz (cycles per second) and is categorized into bands delineating slow, moderate, and fast waves, ranging from the most activity to the least activity.

  • Gamma: High frequency (30 to 80 Hz) Gamma waves are the fastest of the brainwaves, and are associated with intense concentration and the learning and storing of new information.

  • Beta: The brain generates Beta waves (14 to 30 Hz) when it’s engaged in demanding mental activities such as problem-solving and decision-making.

  • Alpha: Dominant during quiet times such as when reading a book, Alpha waves (9 to 14 Hz) can be detected when the brain is relaxed.

  • Theta: That twilight state that we experience as we drift off to sleep, or when driving on the freeway and discovering that we can’t recall the last five miles, is when we’re likely to be generating Theta waves (4 to 9 Hz).

  • Delta: The final brainwave state is Delta, which have the slowest frequency (1.5 to 4 Hz) and are associated with deep, dreamless sleep.

Do our brainwaves effect our mental health?

Being aware of our brainwave state may help us to improve our mental health and well-being, and raises the possibility of tweaking the signals with a range of interventions to correct brainwave patterns associated with a wide variety of emotional and neurological conditions. Over-arousal in certain brain areas is linked to anxiety, aggression, sleep problems and impulsive behaviour, and under-arousal can lead to depression, chronic pain and insomnia. A combination of under-arousal and over-arousal is seen in cases of anxiety, depression and ADHD; and instabilities in brain rhythms are associated with tics, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, and migraines.

So, wouldn’t it be great if we could train our brainwaves for optimum peace, productivity, and general well-being? Well, the easiest, cheapest, and most efficient method to temporarily alter our brainwave state is brainwave entertainment.

What is brainwave entertainment?

Entertainment is a term that denotes the way that two or more independent, autonomous oscillations, with differing rhythms or frequencies, influence each other and make adjustments until they eventually match. It’s a concept first identified by the Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens in 1665 who discovered the phenomenon during an experiment with pendulum clocks: He set them each in motion and found that when he returned the next day, the sway of their pendulums had all synchronized. Also referred to as brainwave synchronization and neural entertainment, brainwave entertainment refers to the capacity of the brain to naturally synchronize brainwave frequencies with the rhythm of external stimuli. The most accessible types of brainwave entertainment are binaural beats and Isochronic Tones (or pulses). Both of these technologies manipulate brainwaves to produce entertainment effects.

  • Binaural Beats: Modulations called Binaural Beats are perceived when tones of different frequency are played simultaneously, one through each ear. The brain interprets the difference in these frequencies and latches on to it. So, for example, if we play a 100 hz tone into our left ear and a 108 hz tone into our right ear, our brain perceives a soundwave darting back and forth between our ears at a rate of 8 times per second, prompting our brainwaves to replicate the frequency of 8 hz.

  • Isochronic Tones: However, for some people, such as those who are deaf in one ear, Binaural Beats is not an option, and a newer technology called Isochronic Tones is available. These utilize a single sound-wave, which is turned on and off at a particular interval. So, for example, if we wish to synchronize the brain to 8Hz, then we would use a sound-wave of any frequency (for example, 100Hz) and turn it on and off 8 times per second. The brain resonates with the switching, and gradually synchronizes with this frequency.

Wearable devices

Until recently, brainwave measurement was confined to a medical setting using an EEG, but brain fitness tools such as the ‘Muse’ and ‘Emotive’ headsets, now enable us to read our brainwaves at home. Although they’re unlikely to be as accurate as an EEG taken in a clinic, they can give us immediate feedback on our brainwave state, and track our progress towards achieving our goals.

Neuro-feedback

During a neuro-feedback session, we are ‘rewarded’ (in the form of a favourite video game, music, or movie) when our brainwaves are approaching the desired state. But when the movie stops, it’s because we’re losing focus and slipping back in the wrong direction.

Meditation

Over the long term, traditional eastern methods such as meditation and yoga, can train our brainwaves into balance.

Summary

By selecting a frequency that resonates with the outcome we want to accomplish (for example, processing information when in Gamma, undertaking mentally challenging tasks when in Beta, relaxing when in Alpha, thinking creatively when in Theta, and preparing for sleep when in Delta), brainwave entertainment has the potential to enhance our performance in all areas of our life.

Thank you for reading this blog post. I hope you found it useful. If you have any experiences that you’d like to share, or ideas for future posts, please do let me know. I would love to hear from you.

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