The Subconscious Mind

Emotional intelligence is located in the seat of our emotions, the subconscious or unconscious mind. From a psychological point of view it is best called the unconscious.

It is our unconscious that governs our lives. The unconscious is the primitive mind that developed early in human evolution. Sigmund Freud called it the id: “It is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality, …. and most of this is of a negative character …. We … call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations...” Stephen King referred to it as the ‘lizard brain’.

The powerful unconscious mind regulates functions such as breathing, heartbeat and digestion. It is always at work, it never sleeps even when our bodies sleep.

The unconscious is also home to our basic impulses. The unconscious is amoral, totally selfish, concerned only with pleasure and pain. It is completely illogical, sexual, infantile in its emotional development, and it will not take “no” for an answer. The unconscious is enormously powerful and it gets what it wants.

One reason why it is so hard to quit smoking is because the unconscious mind has learned to like smoking. The rational, conscious mind knows that smoking is a health hazard and wants to quit but the conscious mind cannot easily over-ride the unconscious, if the unconscious wants to smoke.

Two thirds of Americans, and almost as many Europeans, are overweight or obese and the huge and profitable weight loss industry is a clear indication that obese Americans want to lose weight. But even those who lose weight for a while tend to put it back on. The rational conscious mind of the obese person knows that obesity is unhealthy. The unconscious mind wants sloth and snacks and comfort food. And the unconscious gets what it wants. Even the powerful weight loss industry cannot over-ride the unconscious mind.

Most attitudes, behaviors and human potential are learned in childhood. The Jesuits are not the only ones to say “give me a child until he is twelve and I will give you the man”; other educators have said the same thing. Parents give children much of their human potential, through their genes and through their child raising practices.

Childhood is a time of optimal learning when the childish brain has twice as many neural connections as the adult brain. The child’s brain is also more often in an Alpha or Theta brainwave state and these are states when the brain is most open to suggestion, when ideas can gain direct access to the unconscious mind, bypassing the rational filters of higher consciousness.

Much human behavior is emotional rather than rational and the wellspring of the emotions is the unconscious mind. The power of the unconscious is the reason why emotional intelligence is a far greater driver of behavior than IQ. Emotional intelligence is located in the unconscious which is why we have to access the unconscious through psychotherapy. Psychological methods for accessing the unconscious include association, meditation and hypnotism.

One reason why economics, the ‘dismal science’, predicts human behavior so poorly and why money markets often behave irrationally, is that economics and markets are based on human behavior being rational but human behavior is often irrational, because the irrational unconscious is more powerful that the rational conscious mind.

The unconscious is not as negative as Freud implied. The unconscious is the repository of learning. We can only be said to have learned something when it is stored in the subconscious. Try walking consciously. Tell yourself to place each foot successively, you will find you walk awkwardly.

If you consciously try a golf swing as beginning golfers do, or a tennis serve, you will drive or serve awkwardly.

Most people have experienced learning to drive a car. When you first started to drive you had to think about each move and you had an instructor telling you what to do, move by move. When you have learned to drive the knowledge is stored in your subconscious and you can think about what you will have for dinner or listen to the news as you drive home from work. Driving has become a subconscious task; you do not have to think about it. It is the same with any learning.

If we want to change our behavior we have to access the unconscious mind. One way to do this is through mind programming with brainwave entrainment. It is simple enough. We listen to an mp3 track which entrains Alpha or Theta waves. Alpha or Theta gives us access to the unconscious mind. Then we listen to an overlay of hypnotic suggestions such as: “You are confident and assertive”. So the mind programming mp3 track has three elements.

1.Underlying it all is an Alpha or Theta pulse that entrains Alpha or Theta waves in the brain.
2.Then there is white noise, such as beach sounds, white noise is there to make the experience more pleasant.
3.And overlying the pulse and the white noise is the suggestion.

This is the essence of mind programming for self help using brainwave entrainment. You do not have to go to the expense of hiring a hypnotist.

It is the brainwave entrainment that helps with the self hypnosis, inducing the Alpha or Theta state that gives access to the unconscious mind.

Copyright © Michael F. Petty. 2012 All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. MICHAEL PETTY is a leading authority on accelerated learning, IQ, Neuro Science and brainwave entrainment. He has a BA from Durham UK, an MA from Calgary and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He was a Canada Council Doctoral Fellow and his 1980 research on change in IQ scores, published in the British Journal Educational Research is still cited in Psychological texts. His latest book is Michael Petty, IQ Unlimited, Amazon Kindle. Visit Dr Petty’s website at