When I consider what has made the biggest impact in my quest to live a naked life – one that is unadulterated by outside sources – one thing stands out. Becoming conscious changed everything. It took me from having life happen to me to being in charge of my destiny. Today, I reveal the key to becoming conscious.
The Unconscious Mind
We’ve all had moments in our lives where we do the exact opposite of what we intended. Turn left when we meant to go right. Place the milk in the pantry. Look for our phone while we’re talking on it. What gives? Are our brains wired wrong or what?
The brain is a pretty amazing thing. In a study done at Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, scientists revealed that some of our decisions are made in the unconscious mind before we are even aware of them! In the experiment, participants were asked to freely decide to use either their left or right hand to push a button. Through the use of fMRI, researchers were looking to see if they could predict which hand participants would choose to use before they consciously made their decision.
The results? By tracking patterns in the frontopolar cortex of the brain, researchers could predict which hand the participant would choose seven SECONDS before they were consciously aware of their decision!
Our unconscious mind knows what we’re going to do before we’ve consciously made a choice. It’s why you reach for those fries or a breadstick even though you’re on a diet.
Habitual and Conditioned Responses
We have things that we’ve conditioned ourselves to do automatically. No longer are we thinking about what we’re going to do, our actions are now programmed. We’re no longer in control of our own minds and bodies. It’s why we reach for a drink even though we have decided never to drink again. Reaching into the fridge for a beer as you walk in the door or pouring a glass of wine while cooking dinner has become as automatic as putting shoes on before walking out the door. You just do it without any thought, planning, or consideration. Great for mundane tasks but frightening when you’re consuming a substance that alters us the way alcohol does.
The Key To Becoming Conscious
Getting our conscious mind to overpower the unconscious mind is a losing battle.
Becoming conscious happens by changing the unconscious mind. The key to doing that is to reshape our experiences. That means taking those automatic responses and teaching our mind and our body that an alternative choice can be just as satisfying. That can be hard work when we are first changing our conditioned and habitual responses. Choosing to lace up your running shoes instead of hitting snooze doesn’t feel good at the beginning. The bed is warm, the pillow is soft, and another hour of sleep sounds divine. Yet, after a week or so we’ve not only shown our unconscious mind that running feels even better, we’ve actually started waking up before our alarm goes off and we look forward to that run. Creating new neural pathways is pretty awesome and it’s even cooler when you’re aware it is happening.
Help in Becoming Conscious
Could you use a hand in becoming conscious and rewiring your conditioned responses? Our next LIVE Alcohol Experiment begins November 1st but our community is already starting the work that goes into changing our experiences around alcohol. Join now and get early access that includes pre-work, the Live TAE community, giveaways, coaching, and so much more. Your spot is ready – claim it! Recently I’ve been working hard on doing that with another unhealthy habit of mine – the need to always be doing something.
Becoming Conscious Around Alcohol
What does becoming conscious around alcohol look and feel like? The answer to that is different for each of us and the reasons we drink. It’s important to sit down and think about where the choice to drink has become an automatic response in your life. Is it when socializing? While home alone? Is it when you’re seeking intimacy? Getting those occasions down on paper moves those activities into your conscious mind and gives you an opportunity to consciously decide how you will allow yourself to live through those experiences alcohol-free. These seemingly simple and small changes create an unbelievable impact at changing your unconscious mind and moving you into being conscious.