Self-awareness and the Role of the Subconscious

by Joshua Beavers MA LPC BCN

Self-awareness is a key component of mental health and wellness. The famous psychologist Carl Rogers once said, “Once an experience is fully in awareness, fully accepted, then it can be coped with effectively, like any other clear reality.” People with high self-awareness understand how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors affect their mood throughout the day. They have the ability to pause, evaluate, and change behaviors in order to cope with stress and improve relationships. In contrast, people with low self-awareness may not be conscious of how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors affect their moods or relationships. They may go through life in “auto-pilot” mode and feel overwhelmed when stressed because they don’t understand what is causing the negative feelings. Perhaps they act impulsively and react inappropriately due to subconscious tendencies learned from their childhood or past experiences, or maybe they act a certain way due to subconscious processes in the wiring of their brain or nervous system. Recognizing the impact of subconscious processes is crucial when learning to increase self-awareness. In this article, I will explain how subconscious processes affect self-awareness, and I will explain how neurofeedback can improve subconscious processes relating to the electrical patterns in the brain.

People engage in subconscious processes every day. Most people do these automatically without thinking about them. Examples of these processes include breathing, walking, chewing, and paying attention. These may seem like simple behaviors people do every day, but these are complex behaviors that require precise synchronization between the brain, nervous system, and organs to perform them efficiently. Subconscious tendencies such as tightening the muscles surrounding the diaphragm when feeling nervous can negatively impact a person’s ability to breathe deeply and relax. In addition, the subconscious tendency to scan the environment quickly can impact a person’s ability to focus and concentrate. These subconscious processes may also be present in the patterns of electrical activity in a person’s brain. The amount of electricity generated by specific frequencies in the brain may become elevated which can impact the person’s ability to focus or cope with anxiety. Understanding how these subconscious processes affect mood and behaviors can help a person become more self-aware and cope with the stressors in his/her life.

Neurofeedback can help reduce the impact of negative subconscious processes which occur due to maladaptive electrical patterns in the brain. Neurofeedback teaches the person’s brain to regulate itself and increase flexibility without the person having to take conscious control of the treatment. Changes made to the subconscious processes in the brain can have a significant impact on a person’s conscious behaviors and thought patterns. Many clients report a reduction in the frequency, duration, and intensity of problem behaviors throughout the course of treatment. In addition, some clients indicate their improved focus helps them be more self-aware of how they are feeling and why they feel that way.

by Joshua Beavers MA LPC BCN

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