The term “conscious”, “unconscious” and “subconscious” seem to be no more strange to almost all people these days due to their influences on humans health. However, a large proportion of people still have some misunderstandings between the two “unconscious” and “subconscious”. If you are one of those, kindly read this article!

Unconscious is the part of your mind
Unconscious is the part of your mind

Is subconscious mind the same as unconscious?

What does unconscious mean? The unconscious is a process that happens automatically. Contrary to the conscious mind, where we can and readily acknowledge feelings and cognition, we define unconscious as a deeper mental process. Human’s conscious thoughts can’t examine this process because it occurs underneath the conscious awareness.

According to Freud, the unconscious stores all repressed thoughts and feelings. These thoughts and feelings can manifest in both everyday and unexpected situations, often caused by a trigger.

What does subconscious mean? Subconscious refers to thoughts and processes in the mind of which a person is not directly aware. Desires, motivations, and fears can often be subconscious. You can derive the subconscious through introspection that you can likely identify your behaviour subconsciously, motivation, or impulse.

The subconscious mind is full of complex phenomena that are not well understood, even among psychologists. Sometimes, subconscious might be used to describe an action or a habit that a person doesn’t realize they are doing.

Subconscious is beneath your conscience. You are still awake and perceiving the outside world, but there is something beneath—or perhaps beyond—your conscious that is also influencing you.

The unconscious and subconscious are two distinct phenomena. The unconscious is a process that happens automatically and is not available for introspection. The subconscious, by contrast, is part of our consciousness process that is not actively in focal awareness.

Actually differentiating between the unconscious and the subconscious is tricky. With some introspection you can likely identify from where your thinking, impulse, or motivation  is subconsciously derived. But with what’s unconscious to you—the bottom-most part of the iceberg—it will be much more difficult to ascertain the origins of present-day behavior that literally don’t make much sense to you.

Trick to remember the difference

Many people use unconscious and subconscious interchangeably as a noun. If you are trying to publish an article in a peer reviewed psychoanalysis journal, use unconscious. Outside of this context, these nouns have become synonymous.

As adjectives, however, subconscious and unconscious are not freely interchangeable. If a person has fallen asleep or been knocked out, they are unconscious, not subconscious.

If a person is alert but doesn’t realize they are thinking or doing something, the thought or action is subconscious, not unconscious. Fears or desires that motivate a person, but of which that person is not directly aware, are also subconscious.

You can remember the difference by remembering that a submarine travels below the surface of the water much in the same way that subconscious thoughts and actions happen below the surface of consciousness.

Are You Unconscious Or Subconscious When You Sleep?

When you are asleep, you’re usually in a subconscious state. This is why you’re still able to react to disturbances in your environment. However, the degree of awareness during sleep varies from person to person.

The unconscious mind is much more challenging to access. Typically, an external stimulus is the cause for the unconscious mind to be triggered, such as an intoxicant or bodily injury. It’s very unlikely for a person to be unconscious without external impact. ​

Which is more powerful, conscious or subconscious?

While it’s possible to consciously program your subconscious mind, it’s a process that takes time and persistence. Many patients of cognitive behavioral therapy programs don’t see tangible results until several months into their programs because the subconscious is powerful.

Ever wondered why it’s so difficult to kick a bad habit like biting your nails or hitting the snooze button? Have you ever experienced how difficult it is to implement new habits like healthy eating or hitting the gym? Subconsciously, we hold ourselves back in ways we don’t even realize.

The subconscious is formidable because it’s been built over time. For your conscious mind to overcome these barriers, it will undoubtedly demand effort.

It is challenging, but it’s far from impossible. In fact, experts have devised several successful techniques over the years to help you train your subconscious mind.

For more understanding about the subconscious and other terms relating to this, read my other articles here.


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