Don’t Get Hijacked By Your Unconscious Mind

The unconscious mind is responsible for 80-90 percent of our decision making! We don’t always actively notice it, but it’s the part of our mind that is always assessing the situation we are in and matching it with early relationships and experiences.

Have you ever gotten sick right before a holiday dinner, a date, or a meeting, only to have to reschedule or make up an excuse? What if I told you that these moments were a negotiation between your conscious and unconscious mind?

Think about it: the conscious part of your mind wants to go on the date or to the dinner, and perhaps another part of you doesn’t. Your mind reconciles those opposing aims by finding a way out: lateness when you’re not sure you want to be there, or sickness when you’re dreading being there. These scenarios are symptoms of your unconscious mind dominating your conscious one.

The Unconscious Mind in “Hijacker Mode”

Imagine you’re on your way to a job interview. You’re nervous; you don’t feel you measure up, so you unconsciously miss the exit on the highway and show up late. Therefore, you have actively not measured up, jeopardizing your shot at the job. Your unconscious feelings were close enough to the surface of your conscious mind to influence your actions.

Our unconscious mind in hijacker mode changes the direction of what we consciously set out to do. Another common hijacker example: a slip of the tongue — commonly known as the Freudian slip. Case in point: You have a controlling and egotistical boss. You have call out one day, but instead of telling your boss you are sick, you accidentally say you are a d–k. Oops.

Get to Know Your Inner Hijacker

Today’s world of constant email and text messages have made the unconscious mind harder and harder to understand. Technology has created an entirely new platform for unconscious miscommunication to play out in our everyday lives. Text-based communications are void of emotion and tone, yet we read intent and meaning into those communications everyday based on our own unconscious messages — and not always correctly.

You can’t control the unconscious mind. But examining yourself will improve your communication and how you come off to others, as well as make all around better decisions.

Get started with these easy exercises:

1. Write down your dreams in detail over the next week. Write down each thought, association, or memory that comes to you in the course of recalling your dream. Take note of any recurring symbols or similar themes. If something dawns on you later in the day, write that down too. Dreams help us to sort out what is bothering us on a deep level and make us aware of our conflicts
2. While driving or exercising, consider whether you are actually present in the activity. When your mind shifts away from what you’re doing, what do you begin to think about? Noticing the shifts in your mind will make you aware of a deeper level of your thinking, bringing you closer to your unconscious mind.
3. Keep a journal. The more you explore your own mind, the more you’ll notice recurring subjects and themes — or topics you may be avoiding.
4. Consider Psychotherapy. Maybe you’ve discovered a pattern or felt a block in your mind you want to get past. Reaching out to a psychotherapist is a great way to find a space in which to explore your thoughts freely and get assistance to understand your mind.

Both your mental and physical health depend on understanding that the conscious and unconscious are linked and communicate with each other all the time. Being mindful of that link will help you to learn more about your authentic self and better notice the communications that pass between these sectors of the mind. Once you become more effective at redirecting a potential inner hijacker into a co-pilot, you’ll start to notice a healthier outlook and lasting change.

Written by Lisa Schlesinger

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