Before going to sleep at the end of your day, do you pause and recognize all you’ve experienced that day?
Do you celebrate with an attitude of gratitude?
A Reflective Moment
I don’t have a set time for this and neither do I give it a specific amount of time; it takes as long as it takes and usually when I know that there is nothing else calling for attention so it’s usually around bed time. In this particular reflective moment, I ask myself a few constructive questions. If it helps, place yourself in front of a mirror:
Do I owe any apologies?
- Have I kept something to myself that I should have discussed with another person?
- Was I kind and loving today?
- What could I have done better?
- Was I thinking of myself most of the time?
- Did I think about what I could do for others and what I could contribute to the flow of life?
Sometimes I’m aware that I ask myself all the questions, Other times I don’t and after reflecting on that I’ve come to the conclusion that because I’ve been practicing this for a while, my sub-conscious knows where attention is necessary. We are after all, our biggest critics and when we have been less than honest or true to ourselves during our daily interactions, our sub-conscious always knows.
Drifting into worry, remorse or morbid reflection can detract from our usefulness to others and self. We can too easily drift off course and even lose sight of our goals.
We are a work in progress and don’t always get things right. Having said that, I end my reflection time with a request to the master within (you may insert God here, whatever resonates with you).
“Forgive the errors I made today and while I sleep, please give me understandings of what I might do to correct these tomorrow. I will be thankful for this guidance just as I have gratitude for all the good things that have happened today (re-visit these briefly)”.
An attitude of gratitude means developing a habit of expressing thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life, on a regular basis, for both the big and insignificant things alike.
As NY Times bestseller Lewis Howes puts it,
“If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.”
Think about the day to come and review plans. Ask the guiding-force to direct our thoughts and keep us away from self-pity when things don’t appear to be working out. Ask too that thoughts are detached from self-seeking motives and dishonesty because under these conditions we can utilize our mental functions with confidence. With the miracle that is our mind and brain, we can place our lives on a higher-plane when our thoughts are clear of wrong or unhelpful motives.
Relax, don’t struggle, you have the solutions. It’s wonderful how the solutions have a habit of showing up after we have tried the process of reflection and gratitude for a while.
How does the subconscious mind work?
In Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of personality, the unconscious mind is a reservoir of feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories that exist outside of our conscious awareness. Most of the contents of the subconscious mind are personally unacceptable, unpleasant or exceptionally challenging, such as feelings of pain, anxiety, or conflict. Freud argued that the unconscious influences our behavior and experience even though we are unaware of these underlying influences.
The Iceberg of the Unconscious Mind
When thinking of the unconscious mind, it can be helpful to compare the mind to an iceberg. Everything above the water represents conscious awareness while everything below the water represents the unconscious.
Consider how an iceberg would look if you could see it in its entirety. Only a small part of the iceberg is visible above the waterline. What you cannot see from the surface is the amount of ice that makes up the bulk of the iceberg, submerged far below in the depths of the ocean of your mind. While this information might not be readily accessible consciously, it still exerts influence over our behavior.
Freud believed that many of our feelings, desires, and emotions are repressed by suggesting they were too threatening. He believed that sometimes these hidden desires and wishes make themselves known through dreams and slips of the tongue. Our basic instincts and urges are contained in the unconscious mind. Life and death instincts, for example, are found in the unconscious. The life instincts, sometimes known as the sexual instincts, relate to survival. The death instincts include thoughts of aggression, trauma, and danger.
Certain urges are kept out of consciousness because our conscious minds often view them as unacceptable or irrational. In order to keep these urges out of awareness, Freud suggested that people often utilize a number of different defense mechanisms to prevent them from rising to awareness.
How Is Unconscious Information Brought Into Awareness?
Freud argued . . .
Free Association: Freud asked patients to relax and say whatever came to mind without any consideration of how trivial, irrelevant, or embarrassing it might be. By tracing these streams of thought, Freud believed he could uncover the contents of the unconscious mind where repressed desires and painful childhood memories existed.
Dream Interpretation: Freud also suggested that dreams were a route to the unconscious. While information from the unconscious mind may sometimes appear in dreams, he believed that it was often in a disguised form. Dream interpretation often involves examining the literal content of a dream (manifest content) to try to uncover the hidden, unconscious meaning of the dream (latent content). Freud also believed that dreams were a form of wish fulfillment. Because these unconscious urges could not be expressed in waking life, he believed they find expression in dreams.
Some psychology researchers have criticized Freudian concepts and argue that there is no unconscious mind.
Cognitive psychology, researchers have focused on automatic and implicit functions to describe things that were previously attributed to the unconscious. According to this approach, there are cognitive functions that take place outside of our conscious awareness. This research may not support Freud’s conceptualization of the unconscious mind, yet it does offer evidence that things we are not consciously aware of may influence our behaviors.
Unlike early psychoanalytic approaches to the unconscious, research within the field of cognitive psychology is driven by scientific investigations and empirical data supporting the existence of these automatic cognitive processes.
Freud didn’t invent the concept of the unconscious mind, although he did popularize it to the point that it is associated with his psychoanalytic theories. The notion of the unconscious continues to play a role in modern psychology as researchers attempt to understand how the mind operates outside our conscious awareness.
In order to understand how the subconscious mind works you should consider it the part of your mind that contains information that you are not consciously aware of.
For example, the main reason you fear public speaking might be an unconscious belief that you are unappealing and that people won’t like your looks. While you won’t be aware of that belief while talking in front of the public, it will likely affect your performance.
The Inner-Workings of the Subconscious Mind
The subconscious mind is a like a hard drive that stores your beliefs, memories and life experiences. The information stored in your subconscious mind affects your behavior and actions in different life-situations.
Here is another example that will help you understand how the subconscious mind works. If you lack self-confidence because of certain beliefs you have about yourself (stored in your subconscious mind) then you might start to feel anxious when you find yourself in group situations.
You felt nervous because your subconscious mind had false information that made you believe that you were threatened.
The subconscious mind doesn’t only affect your behavior. It will also affect your perception of events. If in the previous case, you saw two people smiling while looking at you then you might believe that they were talking about you. The subconscious mind feeds a false belief about you and you retrieved proof even though you probably had no evidence that it was real.
Working with The Subconscious Mind
You can’t change sub-conscious beliefs overnight because the subconscious mind can only accept a new belief if it doesn’t contradict with an existing belief. Can an agoraphobic person go for a walk in the park because they suddenly decide not to be agoraphobic?
How to make your subconscious mind work for you
Take action to challenge your subconscious beliefs: I had never been very good at Math while at school and I believed I was not good at the subject because parents and teachers repeated my weakness. When I studied psychology, math and complicated statistics were essential. I learned how to become good at math and over time my subconscious belief changed. No magic, simply hard work.
Going up-against subconscious beliefs: Some people argue that positive affirmations can challenge sub-conscious beliefs. Yet, if these don’t make sense to your subconscious mind, they will never work.
The Subconscious mind is powerful, but it can’t perform magic: If you want to get fit, you have to take positive action and exercise. You can challenge sub-conscious beliefs about why you’re not fit but without action, nothing changes.
Here’s a beautiful poem I discovered on the back of a magazine published in 2016 by the Rosicrucians. Unfortunately they didn’t offer a reference. Great for reflection never-the-less.
Comments and Questions
Please leave yours below. Your thoughts or questions may well ignite a positive spark in another readers thinking. You will always receive a prompt response to your questions and there is no such thing as a bad question; only the one that was never asked.
Here’s to your success
Peace & Light
Steve Costello is a British Community & Youth Studies and Psychology honors graduate with over 30-years theoretical and practical experience in the Personal Development public and private sectors. He founded ExGro in 2018 with business partner, friend and clinical psychologist, Leo Faerberg.