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Last Updated on February 6, 2020

How to Tap Into Your Subconscious Mind for Effective Problem Solving

How to Tap Into Your Subconscious Mind for Effective Problem Solving

The subconscious mind is a mysterious thing. In fact, there is still much that scientists don’t understand about how our mind/brain works. I know from experience there is a way to tap into your subconscious mind, or intuition, and let it help you solve any problem.

Perhaps I should say at this point: I am not a neurologist. However, I have researched how our brains work, read books and articles on the subject, and have done several experiments on myself. Guinea pig, yes. Expert, no. Let me share what I’ve learned.

Although our brains are the linchpin, it isn’t the only part of our nervous system. We have nerves emanating from the brain and spine to every other part of our body. There are also clusters of neurons — like mini-brains — in our heart and gut; they each have their own intrinsic nervous system which communicates extensively with the brain.

Our intuition (or subconscious mind) is somehow linked to all this; it is the penultimate intelligence in our body. Keeping all this in mind,

Key 1: Gripping on tighter to the NEED for a solution does not help the solution to come.

In fact, the harder you try, the longer the solution seems to take to come to mind. You have to find a way to let go of your search for the solution and the obsessing over the lack of one. There are several ways you can do this.

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Distract yourself.

After spending some time analyzing the situation, making lists of pros and cons, talking to others and any other typical decision-making activities, take some time out and do something to distract yourself and prevent yourself from obsessing.

I find going for a walk (or run) or doing a hobby is just enough physical activity to keep my brain working yet provide enough distraction so I can unplug from the problem. Watching TV is not a good solution as it saturates your nervous system and doesn’t let it rest.

Try playing some pattern-finding brain games.

The answer is there. Our brains are excellent at seeing patterns. These can be in our physical environment or in our inner life.

Tap into this ability by reminding yourself that your brain will see the answer, it is only a matter of time. There is always a solution.

You do not need to find the solution, you just need to let it come.

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Release the stress over timelines.

If you need that answer right now, with a deadline looming and making you anxious, your subconscious probably won’t be able to get through. You must find a way to decompress that tension.

I used to stress quite a bit over being on time, until I realized that life is not about time as much as it is about timing. I use the mantra “everything will happen with perfect timing” and recall times when it was true.

For example, one time I was running late for a meeting, but so was the other person and we both arrived at the exact same time — it was perfect and all my stressing out was unnecessary.

Timing is always more important than the clock. Your perfect solution will come to you at the perfect time.

Key 2: Relax and get into the vibe of appreciation.

As we’ve already discussed, the more stressed you are, the less likely you are to hear from your subconscious or intuition. Our nervous systems work better when we are happy and relaxed — we remember things better, we process information better, we make better decisions and we even listen better. The best way to get happy and relaxed is to focus on appreciation.

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Have you heard of Heart Math? The Heart Math researchers have shown that our heart’s rhythm and electrical signals change vastly with our emotions, and the most harmonious, perfect signals come when we focus on uplifting thoughts such as love, joy and appreciation.

Appreciation is a very distinct “vibe” of happy, glowing gratitude, and our heart and nervous system operate most smoothly and efficiently when we are in this state. You can also improve your brain-body-state by meditating, which also helps clear away the clutter of the conscious mind.

Key 3: Be ready for the solution to come.

Once you have taken these steps, be ready to record what your solution or inspiration is.

Get a note pad.

I often keep a note pad and pen beside the bed and have noticed that my best ideas and most-inspired solutions have come to me within the first few minutes of wakefulness — often before I am fully conscious.

I have to write them down immediately, because even though I tell myself “this is such an awesome idea, I couldn’t possibly forget this,” I do. Trust me on this.

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Keep a simple audio recorder

Keep a simple audio recorder (or app on your smartphone) at-the-ready to capture inspiration you receive while driving.

I have written a few blog posts this way, by talking out the ideas. Just be sure whatever app or device you use is not going to make you a distracted driver — it should have one-button operation.

Write down whatever comes to mind

If your solution comes while you are near your computer, be ready to close or hide all the other apps running and open a simple text editor. Take a deep breath and start typing.

In fact, you can even sit at your computer for a predetermined time each day (a time block) and plan to just type whatever comes to mind. After a few minutes, your subconscious will start to break through, especially if you don’t limit your ideas.

What if you look at this problem completely inside out? How about tackling it from the end-point, instead of starting where you are? What outside-the-box answers come to mind? What might happen if you did the exact thing you are afraid of doing? What completely unexpected thing could end up being the cipher to your coded message? Are you looking for a solution that makes you feel a certain way? If so, what else might give you the feeling you are looking for? Is there an obvious solution you are avoiding?

The solution will come in its own right timing. Don’t stress if it isn’t immediate. Keep using the principles above and don’t be surprised when your subconscious starts getting through.

Featured photo credit: Laurenz Kleinheider via unsplash.com

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Teresa Griffith

Teresa is a passionate writer who shares about productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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