• Josh McDonald

The Conscious Mind And The Subconscious Mind, What’s The Difference?

Updated: Jul 11

There is a lot of misconception about the conscious mind and the subconscious mind that people have. In this article I want to explain some of the differences between the two, and why the subconscious mind is the one we want to give control to in hypnosis.

Briefly, the conscious mind is the mind that is in control through most of the waking hours, the subconscious mind is the mind that is below (sub) the conscious level. It is the level of mind that is most active during the sleeping hours, and the mind that holds all of our programming.

In hypnosis, we are directly communicating with the subconscious mind, allowing it a voice, often for the first time.

When you allow your conscious mind to have a voice, you might be very surprised to hear what it has to say, but first, let’s understand the difference between The Conscious Mind And The Subconscious Mind.

The Conscious Mind

The Conscious Mind is the critical mind. This is the mind that says “No! That’s not possible.” Let me give you an example to show the difference between the conscious and subconscious.

Back in 1954, Roger Bannister was the first man to beat the four-minute-mile. Before this no one thought that was possible, no one believed that a mile could be run in under four minutes.

Bannister beat it in Oxford, England, in 1954, and then again two months later at the Commonwealth Game, this time both he and his opponent, John Landy, beat the four-minute-mile.

The record has now been beaten more than 1,500 times since that first time.

The reason that it has been beaten so many times since, and the reason that no-one believed it possible prior, is due to the conscious mind.

The conscious mind of athletes prior to 1954 firmly believed that “It’s not possible to run a mile in under four minutes” and therefore no-one did.

When someone proved that it was indeed possible, suddenly this firmly held belief was challenged. When a belief is first challenged, often there is a lot of resistance. The conscious mind will continue to be critical. It will continue to tell you that it is not possible.

It’s not until the challenge is heard and accepted at the subconscious level that the conscious mind begins to understand and accept the belief.

Some conscious beliefs that you might have is:

  1. I don’t deserve that promotion

  2. I can’t survive off less than 8 hours of sleep

  3. I can’t earn that much money

  4. I can’t get myself out of debt

  5. I can’t get rid of the smoking “habit”

Action – If you have any thoughts like this, a really simple and easy way to blow up is to find people on Instagram that started where you currently are in your life, but who have reached the level of success you want to reach.

The Conscious Mind is also The Logical Mind. It is the mind that deals with math, it is the mind that deals with science. It is based on logic principles and is more comfortable with logical reasoning.

The Subconscious Mind

The Subconscious Mind, however, does not deal with logic. It deals with Emotion.

The subconscious mind is the waking mind. It never sleeps, even when someone is sleeping, the subconscious mind does not sleep.

It remembers everything. Every memory that you have ever had, everything that has ever happened to you, every belief that you have ever created, is stored in your subconscious mind.

The Subconscious Mind is also the Quiet Mind.

When a person is in their normal waking state, they cannot hear the thoughts that are coming from the subconscious mind.

You can only hear the thoughts that come from the conscious mind, but those thoughts come from beliefs and programs that are held at the subconscious level.

The subconscious mind also deals with creativity.

It deals with symbolism and pictures.

Tip – the pictures need to be moving for the subconscious mind to remember. So if you are trying to change the pictures you see in your subconscious mind, you need to replace them with moving pictures.

Activating Your Subconscious Mind


Your subconscious mind holds all your beliefs.

Every belief that you have ever created are stored in your subconscious mind and show up in your life as programs that need to follow a specific neural pathway. Once you have created a belief, your subconscious mind will hold onto it until that belief has been replaced.

Let me give you an example of a client of mine, I have changed her name and details to protect privacy.

Joanna could not stop eating cake. She craved cake, even though she knew that was not doing her any good.

She could see her waist expanding, she knew all the health problems that came with eating sugar such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and inflammation of her organs, but she could not stop herself from eating cake.

In my sessions with her, we worked on getting to the root cause as to why she could not stop eating cake.

By regressing her to her childhood, we found a memory that she had when she was four years old.

Her parents were going through a divorce, at the time she was staying with her grandmother, and her grandmother was always in the kitchen baking cakes. So of course Joanna was always in the kitchen with her grandmother baking and eating cakes with her.

Joanna’s four-year-old mind created the belief that eating cake equals love because, she felt so loved being with her grandmother while eating cake, and feeling loved was something that was lacking in her life at the time.

The only time she was able to feel love was when she was eating cakes with her grandmother, so it’s easy to understand why her mind created that belief.

But when she still had that belief decades later, it was no longer serving her.

At the time, whenever she wanted to feel loved she could remember her moments with her grandmother every time she ate cake, but as a 40-something year old woman, that same belief was making her sick.

We needed to reframe that belief for her subconscious mind. It now says “Eating cake does not equal to love, surrounding myself with people who care about me is how I feel loved. Eating cake causes me unhappiness.”

All of our beliefs are stored in the subconscious mind, and our subconscious mind holds on to those beliefs until the belief has been replaced.

Reason For Putting The Conscious mind To Sleep In Hypnosis?

It is not possible for both the conscious mind and the subconscious mind to be active at the same time

In a person’s normal waking state, the conscious mind is the one that is usually active.

When we go into hypnosis, we are allowing the subconscious mind to go to sleep so that the subconscious mind is given more control, and can communicate with us directly.

In this state, the subconscious mind tells us exactly what memories we have that have caused us to create beliefs that no longer work in our favour, and it allows us to replace those beliefs with newer, more beneficial beliefs.

If you are not in hypnosis, if you are trying to understand your subconscious beliefs from the conscious state, it can take years to understand the programming that is held at the subconscious.

This is the reason people can be seeing a psychologist for a number of years without being able to reverse their subconscious programming, because they aren’t able to directly communicate with their subconscious mind.

Hint – every time there is a battle between the emotional and the logical, the emotional will always win the battle. This is the reason that the subconscious mind holds our programming because our emotions are stronger than logic.

Three Ways To Make Your Day Easier

Here are three things you can easily do that can make your day better:

  1. Breathe – Taking deep breaths into your belly helps shift your nervous system from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic. This is useful for moving out of stress into relaxation

  2. Meditate – Meditating has been proven to change your brain chemistry and to increase your brains natural neuroplacticity

  3. Eat Fruits and Vegetables – Eating more nutrient rich foods such as fruits and vegetables will increase your mood, your gut is your second brain, and having an unhealthy gut biome is directly related to anxiety and depression

What Next

If you have any subconscious programming or beliefs that you want to reframe, I offer a no-obligation, free consultation where we dive deep into your biggest challenge today, and where I help you to overcome that challenge.

If you want to make change in your life, you need to do something you haven’t done before. So if you’re ready to try something different, please schedule some time to discuss your challenges with me:

#Hypnosis #hypnosisparramatta #hypnotherapy #quitsmoking

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