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Published on March 18, 2020

How To Use Your Subconscious Mind For True Success

How To Use Your Subconscious Mind For True Success

Every time your conscious mind goes to work, your subconscious mind is secretly helping. It is a part of our mind that continues to remain more or less a mystery to us as we struggle to know what it’s doing on a daily basis.

In this case, it’s pretty simple. As you are reading this, your subconscious mind is taking bits and pieces of the information and are processing and storing it away. Where that information goes doesn’t matter, but the brain will use it whenever we try to recall information.

However, while gathering, processing, and recalling information with our subconscious is easy, learning how to use your subconscious mind for other tasks isn’t as simple.

If we want to use our subconscious mind to become more successful, we need to know more about it.

What Is the Subconscious Mind?

First, let’s talk about what our subconscious mind is. It was Sigmund Freud who created this theory as part of the levels of the mind.

Freud theorized that we had three levels of the mind. They go as follows:[1]

  • Conscious: Our everyday thoughts and feelings.
  • Preconscious: The information that we use to recall; memories or information needed to perform specific tasks.
  • Subconscious: The information that shapes our overall behaviour without us realizing it.

Even when we aren’t consciously using these parts of our mind, they are constantly developing. Our subconscious is still processing and gathering information even as you are reading this. In fact, it’s processing 500,000 times more information than our conscious mind!

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Why Can’t We Use It All the Time?

If our subconscious mind is so powerful and will make us successful, why can’t we use it all the time?

Well, our subconscious mind is tricky in this way. It’s not as simple as calling up a friend or googling something. Our subconscious is best known for formulating our daydreams or those aha moments.

In other words, our subconscious is constantly working, but the thoughts that come from it are fairly random. This is also the part of our mind that causes us to react quickly, like jumping out of the way of a moving car.

Another way to look at your subconscious mind is to treat it like your “back-office.” This suggests two things:

First, while our subconscious mind is powerful, it’s not independent. We still need our conscious mind to work, and a good portion of our thought power goes to it — 10% of it, in fact.[2]

Second, because of that relationship, it makes sense that we can’t use it all the time, but it can also provide you with an avenue for how to use your subconscious mind to find success.

How to Use Your Subconscious Mind to Succeed

As mentioned above, learning how to use your subconscious mind to succeed is tricky. The subconscious mind itself is hard to tap into.[3]

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Even telling ourselves that we’re using our subconscious mind isn’t enough because that is a conscious decision.

So is all hope lost? Not quite.

Remember that relationship I just mentioned? Well, we can still use our conscious mind to prime our subconscious mind. Priming is the act of using our conscious brain to focus on a specific task.

This is like putting all of the conscious information you have into your subconscious mind. This act signals to your brain that this is a problem or situation you want to deal with. Your brain understands, and your subconscious mind will add the issue into the queue.[4]

What really matters is how we prime the subconscious. Here are some things you can do to start that process.

1. Plan to Do Nothing

Our subconscious mind is like a hoarder of ideas and solutions (within reason). Often times, you won’t find your subconscious mind presenting ideas while you’re in the middle of working on something else.

That’s because it hoards the ideas while our conscious mind works away. With this in mind, if you are someone who is constantly doing something, you won’t be giving your mind enough rest for those ideas to surface.

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This is an absolute must if you are in the creative field. One can’t grow if we’re not allowing time for new ideas to come forth. This may mean simply doing nothing.

2. Bring Capture Devices Everywhere You Go

A capture device is any device that will allow you to take notes: your phone, a notebook, a digital recorder, etc. The idea behind this is that whenever you have an idea, you can write it down and capture it before you forget. This can be anything from projects you want to work on or a solution to a problem you are dealing with.

3. Do Some Physical Activity

Exercise is another way to get our brains to work more. If we are always sedentary, then it’s going to be tough for us to come up with fres, new ideas for anything. Instead, get up and move around and let your subconscious mind go to work.

Remember, we can’t always quickly decide to come up with solutions to our problems. What we can do, though, is plant the seeds so that our subconscious mind will begin working on them. Also, make sure you have some paper or your phone nearby so you can jot these down when the subconscious finally decides to let them surface.

4. Drop Your Keys

This is a thought exercise that Salvador Dali and Thomas Edison used. The idea behind this is to have your phone or paper and pen nearby and rest in a chair.

Continue to rest in your chair until you get to the point of dozing off. At this stage, you’re entering the twilight phase. It’s a powerful stage where our subconscious mind is most powerful. As you are getting to the point of falling asleep, your hand will drop and your keys will hit the floor, waking you up.

Upon waking, you will likely be aware of where your mind went during that twilight phase. Write down anything you remember — this is your subconscious speaking to you.

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5. Visualize Success

No matter how big or small you want your success to be, if you want to learn how to use your subconscious mind to succeed, visualize your success. For our subconscious mind to work, we need to put something in front of it.

With physical activity, we are letting our mind wander, and our subconscious mind begins to propose solutions.

All the same, if we have goals in the front of our minds, our subconscious will begin to provide incentives for us. If we want more effective incentives, it will help to visualize our goals and to make them precise. In terms of the incentives, these are ideas our subconscious will create and that our conscious mind will take and put into action.

Without a vision for what you want to do, it may be hard to come up with solutions to make you more successful.

6. Get More in Touch With Your Mind

One way to do this is meditation. To start, all you need to do is get into a comfortable position and start to empty your mind. In terms of positions, there is no right or wrong position when meditating. The idea is to find comfort and allow yourself to let your mind go.

7. Look After Your Body

From eating healthy to moving around, it’s important that you take care of your vitals. Drinking enough water every day, eating the proper meals, and exercising enough every day are imperative. You want to make sure the things you are doing are helping your body and mind.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to use your subconscious mind is something that will take time as you are building habits and applying them in your life. There are all kinds of obstacles, and creating this pathway is not an easy matter.

However, through these activities and understanding the relationship between our various levels of mind, we can better tap into it and find success in due time.

More Tips on Tapping Into the Subconscious

Featured photo credit: Mitchell Griest via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Boundless Psychology: Introduction to Consciousness
[2] The Hypnotist Man: The Subconscious Mind
[3] Butler University: Subconscious Perception
[4] Forbes: 13 Ways To Start Training Your Subconscious Mind To Get What You Want

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Published on July 7, 2020

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Exercise isn’t just for your body. Just as important is keeping your mind strong by training your brain with fun mental workouts.

Think of your mental and physical fitness the same way: you don’t need to be an Olympian, but you do need to stay in shape if you want to live well. A few cognitive workouts per week can make a major difference in your life.

The Skinny on Mental Workouts

Physical fitness boosts your stamina and increases your muscular strength. The benefits of working up a mental sweat and brain training, however, might not be so obvious.

Research suggests that cognitive training has short- and long-term benefits, including:

1. Improved Memory

After eight weeks of cognitive training, 19 arithmetic students showed a larger and more active hippocampus than their peers.[1] The hippocampus is associated with learning and memory.

2. Reduced Stress Levels

Mastering new tasks more quickly makes the work of learning less stressful. A stronger memory can call information to mind with less effort.

3. Improved Work Performance

Learning quickly and remembering key details can lead to a better career. Employers are increasingly hiring for soft skills, such as trainability and attention to detail.

4. Delayed Cognitive Decline

As we age, we experience cognitive decline. A study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 10 one-hour sessions of cognitive training boosted reasoning and information processing speed in adults between the ages of 65 and 94.[2]

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Just like in physical exercise, what’s important isn’t the specific workout. To be sustainable, cognitive workouts need to be easy and fun. Otherwise, it’s too easy to throw in the towel.

Fun Brain Training Exercises for Everyone

The best about fun mental workouts? There’s no need to head to a gym. Feel free to mix and match the following activities for daily brain training:

1. Brainstorming

One of the simplest, easiest ways to engage your brain? Coming up with solutions to a challenge you’re facing.

If you aren’t good at solo ideation, ask a partner to join you. When I’m struggling to come up with topics to write about, I call up my editors to bat ideas around. Friends or co-workers are usually happy to help.

2. Dancing

Isn’t dancing a physical workout? Yes, but the coordination it requires is also great for training your brain. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Studies suggest that dance boosts multiple cognitive skills.[3] Planning, memorizing, organizing, and creativity all seem to benefit from a few fancy steps.

3. Learning a New Language

Learning a new language takes time. But if you split it up into small, daily lessons, it’s easier than you might think.

With language learning, every lesson builds on the last. When I was learning Spanish, I used a tool called Guru for knowledge management.[4] Every time I’d learn a verb tense, I’d create a new card to give me a quick refresh before moving on.

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4. Developing a Hobby

Like languages, hobbies take time to develop. But that’s the fun of them: you get a little better—both at the hobby and in terms of brain function—each time you do them.

If you’re trying to train your brain and improve a certain cognitive skill, choose a hobby that aligns with it.

For example:

  • Attention to detail: Pick a hobby that requires you to work patiently with small features. Woodworking, model-building, sketching, and painting are all good choices.
  • Learning and memory: Choose an activity that requires you to remember lots of details. Your best bets are hobbies that require lots of categorization, such as collecting stamps or coins.
  • Motor function: For this brain function, physical activities can double as fun mental workouts. Sports like soccer and basketball build gross motor functions. Fine motor functions are better trained through activities like table tennis or even playing video games.
  • Problem-solving: Most hobbies require you to problem-solve in one way or another. The ones that test your problem-solving skills the most, however, take some investigation.

Geocaching is a good example: Using a combination of clues and GPS readings, geocaching involves finding and re-hiding containers. Typically done in a wooded area, geocaching is a fun way to put your problem-solving skills to the test.

5. Board Games

Playing a board game might not be much of a physical workout, but it does make for a fun mental workout. With that said, not all board games work equally well for cognitive training.

Avoid “no brainer” board games, like Candy Land. Opt for strategy-focused ones, such as Risk or Settlers of Catan. Remember to ask other players for their input.

6. Card Games

Card games build cognitive skills in much the same way board games do. They have a few extra advantages, though, that make them worthy of special attention.

A deck of cards is inexpensive and can be played anywhere, from a kitchen to an airplane. More importantly, a deck of cards opens the door to dozens of different games. Challenge yourself to learn a few in an afternoon.

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7. Puzzles

Puzzles are great tools for building a specific cognitive skill: visuospatial function. Visuospatial function is important to train because it’s one of the first abilities to slip in people struggling with cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.[5]

Choose a puzzle you’ll stick with. There’s no shame in starting with a 500-piece puzzle or choosing one that makes a childish image.

8. Playing Music

Listening to music is a great way to unwind. But playing music goes one step further. On top of entertaining you, it makes for a fun mental workout.

Again, choose an instrument you know you’ll stick with. If you’ve always wanted to learn the violin, don’t get a guitar because it’s less expensive or easier to pick up.

What if you can’t afford an instrument? Sing. Learning to control your voice is every bit as challenging as making a set of keys or strings sound good.

9. Meditating

Not all cognitive exercises are loud, in-your-face activities. Some of the most fun mental workouts, in fact, are quiet, solo activities. Meditating can help you focus, especially if you have pre-existing attention issues.

Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never meditated before. It’s easy:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes, or for however long you have to meditate.
  • Close your eyes or turn off the lights.
  • Focus on your breathing. Do not try to control it.
  • If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back to your breath.
  • When the timer goes off, wiggle your fingers and toes for a minute. Slowly bring yourself back to reality. Remember the sense of serenity you found.

10. Deep Conversation

There’s nothing more mentally stimulating than a good, long conversation. The key is depth: surface-level chatter doesn’t get the mind’s wheels spinning like a thoughtful, authentic conversation. This type of conversation helps in training your brain to think more deeply and reflect.

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Choose your partner carefully. You’re looking for someone who’ll challenge your ideas without being confrontational. Stress isn’t good for brain health, but there’s value in coming up with creative arguments.

11. Cooking

When you think about it, cooking requires an impressive array of cognitive skills. Developing a cook’s intuition requires a good memory. Making sure flavors are balanced takes attention to detail. When something goes wrong in the kitchen, problem-solving skills come into play. Motor control is required to stir, flip, and whisk.

If you’re going to cook, you might as well make enough for everyone. Invite them into the kitchen as well: coordinating with other chefs adds an extra layer of challenge to this fun mental workout.

12. Mentorship

Whether you’re the mentee or the mentor, mentorship is an incredible mental workout. Learning from someone you look up to combines the benefits of deep conversation with skill-building. Teaching someone else forces you to put yourself in their shoes, which requires empathy and problem-solving skills.

Put yourself in both situations. Being a student makes you a better teacher, and teaching others gives you insight into how you, yourself, learn.

Final Thoughts

Your mind is your most important possession, and training your brain is needed to maintain its health. Don’t let it get soft.

To keep those neurons firing at full speed, add a few fun mental workouts to your schedule. And if you’re still struggling to get your brain in gear, remember: there’s an app for that.

More Tips for Training Your Brain

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

Reference

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