Your brain is not your friend, or at least not the kind of friend you think she/he/it is.
You tell it to focus on one particular task -- like writing a 700-word article like this one -- and before you know it you've gone too deep down the rabbit hole of social media, scrolling through cat memes and oversharing posts you're likely to delete the next morning.
You begin to tell yourself, "I'm a hopeless procrastinator, and I will never get things done. It's just the way I am."
Most of us have been there.
And so it begs the question: Why do we sometimes behave a certain way when we had intended to do the exact opposite? Why is our brain so fond of making decisions before we even realize it?
It's easy to just say that it's because our brain is wired that way. But it's probably more helpful to derive an explanation from the father of psychoanalysis himself, Sigmund Freud, who posited that the levels of our consciousness can be compared to an iceberg.
Picture this: You see an iceberg. It's rather big, at least until you get a glimpse of what's underneath the waterline. The tip or the visible part, it turns out, comprises only 10% of the whole thing. The part submerged under the water is massive, making up 90% of the entire thing.
Now imagine that the entire iceberg makes up the levels of your consciousness. The visible part represents the conscious mind, making up your surface thoughts. The hidden 90% below the waterline represents the subconscious and the unconscious mind, the part responsible for your unintentional, habitual thought patterns and beliefs.
Your intention to focus on a specific task -- that is your conscious mind working. The instances where your brain goes on autopilot, on the other hand, are fueled by your Subconscious.
And here's the kicker: most of us think that the conscious mind is always in control. It's not.
The subconscious mind is a powerful thing. It's difficult to override because it serves as your mind's operating system. In short, it's running the show in the background.
This is the reason why most of us seem to be "set in our ways." We are habit-forming creatures for good or for ill.
Thankfully, every one of us is capable of reprogramming our thought patterns to behave a certain way. All you need to do is change the paradigms of your subconscious mind.
And no, that's not a kumbaya thing. In fact, scientists learned that we can consciously force our brain to form new neural pathways, thus reinforcing more favorable feelings and behaviors.
And this process doesn't apply to procrastination alone. Whether it's boosting self-confidence or kicking a bad habit, reprogramming your subconscious can benefit your life in more ways than one.
There are numerous ways one can "hack" into the subconscious mind but the following are the most recommended.
Self-hypnosis is a powerful mind technique often used in a clinical setting in order to modify one's behavior, emotions, and attitudes.
There are numerous self-hypnosis techniques you can do but ultimately it's about being relaxed both physically and mentally and then being conscious of the words and ideas that represent the behavioral change you want to happen.
The mind is a powerful thing, so much so that you can will the behavioral change you want to happen into being. By imagining the change you want to happen in yourself and picturing a mental image of what you desire (staying calm, quitting cigarettes, etc.), you can tap into your subconscious in a way where your intended goals can manifest in your behavior.
Visualization requires concentration and focus, so it's always better to perform the practice in a place free of clutter and distractions.
3. Positive affirmations
If you keep repeating negative behavior, you can reprogram your subconscious mind into keeping it in check by repeating positive thoughts and statements. What this does is create mental images that eventually seep into your subconscious, thus overriding the negative thoughts and beliefs that influence the unwanted behavior. This process also strengthens the neural pathways that reinforce the desired behavior and emotions. For instance, if you keep repeating "I choose to be happy" multiple times on a daily basis, you'll eventually be able to respond more positively to negative experiences when they come.
Reprogramming your subconscious mind can positively impact your life on many levels. While you can't stop it from taking control of your emotions and behavior entirely, you can reframe it in a way where you don't have to be at its mercy. Because when you're able to make your subconscious mind work for your benefit, you'll soon realize that it's the friend you've always wanted.
Did you like this article? Is there something you'd like us to write about? Let us know in the comments! Please also be sure to like and share with your friends. Check out more helpful articles like this from Digital Bloggers.