It was in ancient Greece when the connection between our mind and body was first considered. That information would take a long time to read the Western world, but once it did, we started to understand things at a deeper level.
Out of all of the information, one of the prominent aspects were the levels of the mind. It was an aspect that grew off of the Greek philosophy that our mind and body are connected, and it was these levels that would unlock more of our potential.
However, like most things in life, it takes time and understanding to unlock these levels of the mind. Too help with that, let me explain what these are and what you can do to tap into them.
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What Are the Levels of the Mind?
One of the prominent researchers on the mind is Sigmund Freud. He was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who came up with all kinds of theories, one of those being the levels of the mind.
He referred to them as the three levels of awareness.
According to Freud, our mind operates across these three levels of the mind. He calls these the conscious, unconscious, and preconscious mind.
The conscious mind has everything that we are aware of at a given point in time. These are thoughts and feelings we are aware of from reading information or hearing someone talk to us. They can occur at the front or back of our mind.
The key with the conscious mind is that no matter where the thoughts or emotions are occurring, you are fully aware of them.
The second level is the preconscious mind. This contains any information regarding what’s below our initial awareness. This is the information that requires us a brief moment to retrieve.
A good example of this is any memories you can recall or any information you retain after studying for a test.
The final level is the unconscious mind. This is where there is a lot of potential and growth. The tricky part to all of this, though, is that this is information buried deep down.
While it’s difficult to see how the unconscious mind may be important, these are things that impact our behavior without us realizing it. Your preference for certain foods can stem from past events and experiences. Also, who you are likely to vote for in elections will also be impacted by experiences and views. These are only a couple of the ways the unconscious influences us.
How to Boost the Levels of the Mind
Now that you understand the levels of the mind, what are some ways to improve them?
Before getting into the ways to boost these, we must first understand why we should bother doing so.
As the Greeks noted eons ago, our mind and body are connected. Take care of the mind, and the body will follow as well. Not only that, but as we grow older, our mental functions begin to change, and they begin to decline if we don’t bother training our minds.
There are many ways to boost the levels of the mind, as you will see below.
1. Seek out Mental Stimulation
Any kind of brain activity is going to be good for us. What constitutes as brain activity is forming new neural pathways and stimulating these connections.
So how do you do this? Well, it comes down to building new habits or reinforcing them. A good example is mental exercises. As an exercise, try to lift your big toe while keeping all of the other toes and your heel planted on the ground. If you can do that, try raising all of the other toes while keeping your heel and big toe on the ground.
For most people, they will lift all of their toes, and when actually trying to lift all of the toes on purpose, it’ll be tough to do. That’s because most people have never given their brain that specific of a command.
Some other examples of mental stimulation include drawing, writing, and painting.
2. Work Out
On the note of exercising, it’s also a great source of mental stimulation. As long as you are using your muscles in some fashion, this will provide mental stimulation.
You also want to be exercising as exercising is known to improve cholesterol levels, balance blood sugars, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress.
3. Eat Better
Nutrition is also key and can impact our mood. Don’t believe me? Note how you feel after eating a well cooked meal at home versus eating at a fast food place.
In most occasions, you’ll feel bad or terrible after eating fast food. You’ll definitely feel that if you’re used to eating healthy food on the regular.
The point is that the food you are eating will impact how your brain functions overall.
If you are looking to change your diet, one suggestion is the Mediterranean diet.
4. Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol
Smoking tobacco or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol are both ways to damage your brain and reduce your ability to access the various levels of the mind. A glass or two of wine per day is okay, but cut yourself off after that.
5. Show Care for Your Emotions
Your emotions are at the forefront of your mind, and one way you can exercise your conscious mind is to be more aware of how you are feeling. Also, pay attention to how your emotions are shifting.
This also goes for the things that severely affect our minds. Anxiety, depression, sleep-deprivation, or intense exhaustion are things that will impair our cognitive functions.
Be sure to take necessary measures when and if those occur. Generally speaking, as long as you’re getting good sleep and are staying in good mental health, you should be setting yourself up well.
6. Avoid Head Injuries
Moderate to severe head injuries is an obvious blockade when it comes to the levels of the mind, but it’s worth noting. Do your best to avoid injuries as even without being diagnosed with a concussion, these injuries can impact our cognition.
7. Increase Your Social Networks
As we get older, our circle of friends becomes smaller and smaller. In those moments, it’s important that we stay connected to our community. These will lower risks of dementia, decrease blood pressure, and boost our longevity.
8. Try Other Mental Exercises
Also called “innercises,” these are exercises that stretch only the mental aspect of our brains. Keep in mind that these activities focus on outward factors, and not everyone can do them, but everyone can certainly try.
You can do these activities at any time, and they will provide many benefits the more you practice them. Some examples of exercises like these are:
Doing Mental Math
Most people are quick to whip out their phone’s calculator app and do the math the easy way. Train yourself to do it in your head, but keep it reasonable.
Listing One Noun for Each Letter of the Alphabet
For example, A is for apple, B is for bison, C is for carrot. You can challenge yourself by doing this in reverse or telling yourself you can’t use the same word for a whole week for this exercise.
Counting Large Numbers Backwards
You can add a layer of challenge to this by seeing how fast you can count backwards.
9. Smile More
The last mental activity that I will suggest to boost the levels of the mind is to smile more often. Of course, you want to have a reason to smile, but there is a lot of weight behind a smile. A smile pushes our brain to release certain chemicals that make us feel happier and want to smile more. This helps significantly when we are experiencing some kind of pain.
All of this is a call back to the old saying of “grin and bear it.” This is particular important because it influences our physical state.
Understanding the levels of the mind is simple in concept, but each level adds layers of challenge. We have a (more or less) complete understanding of our conscious mind and can, in turn, alter it at will. However, our preconscious and subconscious mind need more work.
With the help of these activities, you can boost your understanding of these levels and improve your life.
More Tips on Developing the Mind
- How To Change Habits By Using Your Subconscious Mind
- 11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory
- How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind
Featured photo credit: Rebe Pascual via unsplash.com
|Harvard Health Publishing: Mediterranean-style: the healthy fats and healthy carbs diet
|Psychological Science: Grin and bear it: the influence of manipulated facial expression on the stress response