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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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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

Memory plays an integral role in our lives, both in the short and long term. If you’re wondering how to improve memory, I’m here to tell you that there are natural and effective ways to do so.

Despite what you might think, improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it.

Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve memory efficiently and reduce the risk of memory loss.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts, and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder, then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. Research suggests that the more information and distractions you receive, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory[1].

Fortunately, meditation can help.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which, in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

While any amount of meditation will do something to help your memory, one study pointed out that “8 but not 4 weeks of brief, daily meditation decreased negative mood state and enhanced attention, working memory, and recognition memory as well as decreased state anxiety scores”[2].

Therefore, if you’re looking for the most benefits, try sticking with a meditation practice for at least 8 weeks.

However, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get Plenty of Sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then it’s likely that you’re not able to remember well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities, including your memory.

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If you want to learn how to improve memory, how much sleep should you be getting?

Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation[3], you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things[4].

If you want to improve memory, get plenty of sleep.

    Maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!), but if you care about improving your long and short term memory, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

    Try these three things to naturally improve your sleep cycle:

    • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
    • Don’t eat too late
    • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

    Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

    However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory.

    3. Challenge Your Brain

    When was the last time you challenged your brain?

    I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or under-sleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and memory games.

    To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

    Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-solving ability, and memory.

    There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

    • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
    • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
    • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

    If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

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    Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it; try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

    4. Take More Breaks

    When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctly remember working all the hours under the sun—and many under the moon, too!

    At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat, and tears.

    However, if you want to know how to improve memory, taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative, and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

    Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

    One 2011 study from the University of Illinois concluded that “the brain is built to detect and respond to change…and prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance”[5].

    This is based on something called the “vigilance decrement.” This can be applied to many things. For example, we often don’t notice the feeling of clothing touch our bodies because our brain becomes accustomed to the sensation. However, if you change clothes, you’ll likely notice the difference in texture and temperature for a few minutes.

    When you take a break from memorizing information, it refocuses your attention and energy, leading to increased focus overall.

    It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart, and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

    Basically, make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

    5. Learn a New Skill

    I love this quote, as it’s 100% true but frequently overlooked:

    “Learning never exhausts the mind.” -Leonardo da Vinci

    From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

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    Let me give you an example of this:

    Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day, many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

    Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

    The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you rather than letting you work in your own way.

    Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction into learning a new skill (computer coding).

    It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career, and the ongoing learning made the call center job much more bearable.

    Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus, and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking out new information. When learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly becomes a habit, too.

    If you want to know how to learn something new every day, check out this article.

    6. Start Working out

    If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

    Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory[6].

    Regular physical activities increase blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. A well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

    Even if you don’t have much time, research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines[7].

    Interested in getting started?

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    Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

    • Join a gym
    • Join a sports team
    • Buy a bike
    • Take up hiking
    • Dance to your favorite music

    7. Eat Healthier Foods

    I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

    This applies to your brain, too.

    The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health, as well.

    Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery, and dark chocolate. But any fruits, vegetables, or foods high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory. Here’re some ideas: 15 Brain Foods That Will Super Boost Your Brain Power

    Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain, leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

    If you want to improve your mental health, eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

    • Turmeric – Helps new brain cells grown
    • Broccoli – Protects the brain against damage
    • Nuts – Improves memory
    • Green tea – Enhances brain performance, memory and focus[8]
    • Fish oilFish oil supplements can increase your brain power

    Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

    Also, remember that your brain is about 75% water, so dehydration can have a huge effect on the way your brain functions. Stay hydrated if you really want to improve memory!

    Final Thoughts

    I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be helpful for you.

    You don’t need to implement them all, but you can try out the ones that appeal to you.

    But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory and avoiding cognitive decline, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested.

    More on How to Improve Memory

    Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

    Reference

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