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Difference Between The Conscious And Subconscious Mind


Do you remember the first time your mind came alive? The first time you were able to talk to yourself without anyone hearing? The first time that little voice in your head spoke to you? The one you’re using to read this right now.

What’s fascinating is, that many of us do not remember when this happened. I remember as a kid, I was very observant, curious, and asked a lot of questions.

I was very close to my mom, and when I noticed she was in a sort of trance, I inquired why. I remember the first time she told me she was thinking. And I was like, WOW, I’d love to think too!

Long story short, I noticed that it was difficult to talk to myself in my head. Weird right? And when I was able to, I ran to Mom to break the news. I was so excited. I think I was only 6 or 7.

I reckon that the conscious mind is part of the inner us that’s mature enough to speak to us in real-time and function fully but inside us.

While the subconscious is the part of us that doesn’t need to speak but is alive and accounts for most impulsive reactions.

But this is my POV; let’s look at more polished definitions and how the conscious and subconscious minds are different. So, keep scrolling.

Difference Between The Conscious And Subconscious Mind:

What is the Conscious Mind?

The conscious mind is made up of all the thoughts, memories, feelings, and desires that we are aware of at any given time.

This is the aspect of our mental processing that we can rationally think about and discuss. It includes everything you are currently aware of and thinking about. It is similar to short-term memory in that it has a limited capacity.

Your consciousness comprises your awareness of yourself and the world around you.

What is the Subconscious Mind?

The subconscious is part of our minds that makes decisions without conscious awareness. It’s more n charge of babies because they can’t speak or think. It is a data bank for everything that is not conscious in your mind.

It saves your beliefs, previous experiences, memories, and skills. Everything you’ve seen, done, or thought about is also present. It also serves as your navigation system.

The subconscious mind is like the Coach, while the conscious is the player. Remember, coaches, don’t play. Your subconsciousness steps in when the consciousness doesn’t.

Like when you touch something blazing hot, the first thing you do is remove your hand from it. Then you proceed to cater to the wound. The subconscious removed your hand before your conscious could comprehend. If you overthought it, you’d be burnt before you realize it.

4 Differences Between The Conscious and Subconscious Mind

·         Creativity Lies In The Conscious Mind

This is what distinguishes us from other animals. Our conscious mind is critical to human evolution. While other life forms are simply reactive in terms of input/output stimulus-response content, we can receive a stimulus and change our response each time.

When an animal is exposed to a stimulus, it repeats the same behaviour.

·         Habit Lies In The Subconscious Mind

When you are exposed to a stimulus and have a habit in your subconscious mind related to that stimulus, it will automatically engage in its related behaviour.


That is what a habit is; all it takes is a stimulus for the behaviour to occur. Like when your hand gets sweaty when you’re nervous or when you dance no matter where you hear music.

·         The conscious mind adapts the subconscious documents.

In your conscious mind, thoughts come and go. It is constantly changing. It takes a little more than that for your subconscious mind to be convinced of the recent change you’ve proposed. So, no, it won’t change unless you keep doing it indefinitely.

Consider a world in which your subconscious mind changes simultaneously with your conscious mind. God forbid you to have to learn how to walk every day.

Your subconscious mind is programmed to retain the learned program.

·         Both minds are different. But work together

Changing your conscious mind will not automatically change your subconscious program. The conscious mind learns differently than the subconscious mind.

In the pre-frontal cortex, your conscious mind, located just behind your brow, represents you as a distinct individual. I believe it is safe to say that it is primarily your thoughts.

Features of The Conscious and Subconscious Mind

1.     “YOU CAN DO IT,” your subconscious tells you.

When confronted with a difficult situation, our subconscious mind comes through to tell us that we can do it.

Our subconscious mind collects memories of times when we have succeeded and stores them for later use as we go through life.

Even if you’ve never been in a difficult situation before, your subconscious can motivate you because it recalls when you overcame a new challenge.

As a result, we can say that it is critical to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, requiring you to rely on your self-belief. Every time you rise to the occasion, your subconscious confidence grows.

·         Your conscious mind is the source of your life goals.

The conscious mind is the creative one; therefore, it generates all of your desires, wishes, and ideas for what you want to do with your life, among other things. Your conscious mind can quickly learn by watching people do things, watching a movie, reading a book, cooking, or going for a walk.

One day, you might see someone replacing a light bulb “You know what, I can do this too.” Or when as children, we’d want to be an astronaut, then a pilot, then a professor, and become Youtube content creators the next minute.

·         The Conscious Mind Is Aware

Being mindful is a way of life in which you keep your conscious mind focused on the present moment and did not allow it to wander. When your conscious mind is in the present moment, it controls your behaviour.

It naturally leaves less and less room for your subconscious to take over. If you can manage to stay mindful for some time each day and enforce your new “changed” or “modified” behaviours, you will eventually but gradually change your subconscious programs.

Meditation can help you get closer to your subconscious mind if you practice it regularly.

·         The Subconscious Mind takes Cues from the conscious.

Your conscious mind sows the seeds, and your subconscious mind allows them to germinate and grow uninhibitedly. Remember this the next time you try to speak negatively about yourself. Whatever you say, your inner mind will believe and strive.

This is why it is recommended to use positive affirmations. When you believe in something, it is easier to achieve it. Both the good and the bad.

How To Train The Subconscious Mind

We’ve established that the subconscious mind is the mind of “habit.” If you want to train yourself to do something positive, like go to the gym five times a week or arrange your bed every morning, it must be documented in your subconscious.

Therefore, here are two helpful tips for training your subconscious mind;

·         Be patient.

Reprogramming the subconscious mind is time-consuming because the conscious and subconscious minds are separate entities. The first part is completed when you realize what you’re doing wrong and change it; the second part is to repeat it.

New awareness or comprehension will not automatically alter the programs in your subconscious mind. You must constantly repeat the new behaviour as an exercise, and it will eventually work.

·         Consistency. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat;

Your problems will not go away simply because you are aware of them.

But it’d be so much easier if things worked like that. For example, you figure out you shut people down constantly for fear of losing. A helpful way to curb it is catching yourself slipping and correcting it or apologizing immediately after an outburst.

Even if you tell everyone you’ve figured out your problem, not taking steps will equal the same results as people avoiding talking to you.

Aside from the amusing aspect, no matter how much you pay the psychologist, psychiatrist, counsellor, or whomever, no one will do your work. It’s your subconscious that needs to be worked out.

Final Word

There’s so much more one can do when there’s a healthy balance in piloting the body and mind through our conscious and subconscious streams. But, I hope this piece was able to shed more light on the difference between these minds. Cheers!

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