Difference Between Conscious and Subconscious Mind

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Difference Between Conscious and Subconscious Mind

Have you ever wondered about the difference between the conscious and subconscious mind? The mind is a very powerful thing and until now, with all the research and studies, no one has still unveiled everything about it.

One thing we do know is that our mind is comprised of the conscious and unconscious and that’s what we are to discuss in this article. These are two very different things and are in charge of different functions of the mind as well.

In order to understand more about the conscious and subconscious mind, you need to know more about them, how they differ and how they work together. Understanding all this will help you comprehend how your mind works and maybe even enrich your life.

Read on to learn all about the difference between your conscious and subconscious mind.

The Conscious Mind

To put it in simple terms, your conscious mind is what you use in your everyday life. This is also what people around you would relate with who you are as a person but it is not where your actions happen.

To put it in more creative terms, your conscious mind is sort of like the manager of a department who gives out all the orders. But it is also the employees who carry out the orders of the manager. The manager may be in charge of the whole department but it is the employees who actually do the work and keep the department going, all working based on how they had learned to do their job.

Your conscious mind relates to the world and your inner self through thoughts, language, writing, photos and body movements.

To make things clearer, here’s a list of the functions of your conscious mind and what it is able to do:

  • It has the ability make you focus more
  • It has the ability to make you determine imagination from reality.
  • It gives you awareness of the things which you are working on.
  • It allows you to manage as much as 5-9 experiences, thoughts or ideas at a time.
  • It’s the part of the mind which makes plans and decisions.
  • It has the ability to help you enjoy and make the most of your life.
  • It allows you to multitask.
  • It refers to the logical part of your mind which is in charge of analyzing and critical thinking.
  • It controls you’re thinking while as long as you are awake.
  • It controls your deliberate movements and it is used when you are speaking.
  • It is in charge of your voluntary actions and it allows you to decide on the objectives you’d like to achieve.
  • It is what you use when you are learning academically or trying to solve problems.
  • Its awareness only extends to the present circumstances.

The Subconscious Mind

The subconscious mind is in charge of totally different things and is in constant connection with the assets of the unconscious mind. It is basically a storage facility of all your experiences and memories which you no longer remember. These memories and experiences may have been forgotten because they hold no more significance to you or have actually repressed them because of extreme distress.

Your behaviors, beliefs, and habits are then formed because of these past experiences and memories which are stored in your unconscious mind.

Here are all the functions of the subconscious mind as well as what the subconscious mind can do:

  • It is in charge of your memories and the daily actions you are able to do automatically even though you aren’t aware of doing them.
  • It is in charge of your mood, routines, and behaviors day to day.
  • It manages your values and beliefs and therefore how you see the world.
  • It is in charge of the sensations you feel through all your senses and interprets their meaning to you.
  • It contains all of your experiences as well as the perceptions, insight, and knowledge you have acquired in all your years of life.
  • It handles your body functions such as breathing, digesting, blinking, etc.
  • Though it manages most of the functions of the mind and body, it still follows commands from your conscious mind.
  • It is where your feelings originate from and it plays a role in your ability to non-verbal communication.
  • It controls all of your involuntary movements.
  • It is what you use to obtain wisdom from all of your experiences, therefore it helps you reach your goals.
  • It makes a record of everything that you do.

How Are They Different?

To be able to get a better picture of the difference between the conscious and subconscious mind, let’s use an analogy.

Think of an iceberg – when you see an iceberg, all you see is the tip but in reality, there is a bigger part of it under the surface of the water. This is just like your conscious and subconscious mind.

Your conscious mind is in charge of your awareness while you are awake. Being able to think and analyze, create logical order and wonder about causality and the effects of actions and your drive to keep on asking questions are all the key attributes of your conscious mind.

It is where academic and intellectual learning and understanding happens. It also utilizes your intellect in order to think critically and find the most logical solutions to problems you are facing. It allows you to make decisions on the basis of facts, therefore allowing your body to act accordingly and voluntarily.

The subconscious mind, on the other hand, is the part of your mind which works beneath your normal consciousness level. Just like an iceberg, your subconscious mind is the part found under the surface of the water and it happens to be the broader and more substantial part of your mind.

It is responsible for your feelings and emotions as well as how you perceive the world around you. It also documents and stores all your memories and past experiences. If you try to remember things from long ago, say, from your childhood, you’ll gain access to these memories through your subconscious mind.

Then again, we don’t have access to all of our memories. Traumatic events and experiences are usually stored deep within our subconscious and repressed so that you won’t be able to remember them. This may be a sort of defense mechanism of the mind. Also, our deepest and most profound core values and beliefs are also buried deep in our subconscious mind, you can even say that they are already “programmed” into it.

Another purpose of your subconscious mind is it is in charge of managing the automatic functions of your body. This includes how and when we breathe, the proper regulation of your heart, digestion, kidney processes and so much more. Without your subconscious mind, your body won’t be able to do all these!

Even the movement of your muscles when you walk with your legs and feet or life things with your arms and hands would not be possible without your subconscious mind. Sometimes, you would even find yourself already finished with a task without remembering how you’ve accomplished it – this is also your subconscious mind at work. Sometimes you do things over and over again until it becomes almost automatic to you and you just do it without consciously thinking about it.

As a matter of fact, research shows that almost 75% of your day to day activities are actually managed by your subconscious mind.

Complicated, isn’t it? Though it seems like the subconscious has more functions, both conscious and subconscious minds are very important. Radically different as they are, you need them both and they actually work very well together to keep you functioning well overall.

How Do They Work Together?

In doing daily activities, both your conscious and subconscious need to work in sync with each other for you to function properly. Think about it, when you are performing everyday tasks, do you actually focus and concentrate on them or do you do them out of habit and are able to accomplish them without much thought?

This is a perfect example of how both minds are working. While you are awake and aware, your conscious mind is working and while you are thinking of different things, your subconscious mind is also working, allowing you to still be able to perform tasks.

Your mind is truly a powerful thing and all parts of it are important in your life.

Final Look – A Comparison

To simplify things, here is a table of comparison between the conscious and subconscious mind. These are the key functions of the two which you would see are very different from one another:

The Conscious Mind The Subconscious Mind
In charge of your awareness while awake Feelings, moods and emotions
Thinking, analyzing and problem solving Memories and past experiences
Logic and cause and effect Represses traumatic memories and events
The drive to keep on asking questions Values, beliefs and perceptions
Academic and intellectual learning Automatic and involuntary actions
Critical thinking and decision making Automatic and involuntary body functions
Voluntary actions / deliberate movements


Author: Simy Em

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