Updated: Oct 1, 2021
If our minds were compared to mansions, the subconscious mechanisms of the brain would dominate 95% of the home. This part of the brain makes up our emotions, beliefs, and habits. Out of the many rooms that make up this mansion that is the mind, only one is allotted to conscious thought. That makes the subconscious mind the predominant factor driving our choices, actions, thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors which are all executed perfunctorily.
To understand the subconscious mind, consider a pianist and their ability to know which keys to punch to make or reproduce beautiful sounds. The subconscious mind controls this avenue of memory and where the conscious mind says play the song, the subconscious mind knows how.
The subconscious mind is part of one of three brain systems referred to as the limbic (emotional) system. The other two are the neocortex (thinking) and R complex (survival). The limbic system is what houses our egos, aka programming like thought patterns and habits.
With our subconscious thoughts dominating the show, many individuals find it challenging to affect behavior change.
So, how does one effectively implement behavior change when only 5% of our decision making skills stem from this mindset? And how does the subconscious mind influence health and nutrition?
To answer the first question, staying as present and in the now as possible is important to begin to rewire thoughts and habits. This is best conducted through mindfulness practices such as meditation and walking quietly with the intent of keeping the mind still. The benefit of increasing conscious awareness is to develop a sense of self awareness. The more we can increase self awareness, the better we are at catching ourselves during habitual reactions and habit-dominated behaviors. Once we have a knack for understanding ourselves better, we can begin to apply change, such as changing one’s diet to improve health and wellness.
To answer the second question it must be understood that the subconscious mind is not logical and does not differentiate between reality and thought or past and future. Infact, the subconscious mind does not know the difference between what is real and what isn’t. This makes sense considering its basis is founded on emotions, images and feelings. The difficulty is understanding how this programming influences our choices, health, and factors that control happiness. Many develop a habit of using food as a coping mechanism, and by doing so, are indirectly avoiding the pointer leading the way to why the suffering exists in the first place. This subconscious program is intelligent and primitive in that it is ancient in design with the sole purpose of survival and keeping us safe. Is it really helpful to modern life, though?
The subconscious mind creates core beliefs that happen because it is trying to make sense of experiences that are happening in our environments. Over time, these core beliefs begin to shape our realities and we create filters that distort us from seeing the truth about ourselves. Some core beliefs that people have about themselves are “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t matter”, “I will never lose weight,” “I have faulty genes that keep me sick.”
So, how does the subconscious mind influence our nutrition? Foods influence neurotransmitter output which impacts mood making food not just a necessity to life, but also a coping strategy to it. Have you ever considered why you want that second bowl of ice cream? Is it filling a need or void that cannot be appeased through right thought and action? Most likely this is the case. What we fail to recognize is these emotions can be appeased by right thought and action alone and require nothing from the exogenous world to influence our biochemistry.
Another interesting way the subconscious influences nutritition is in repeated exposure to advertisments from food conglomerates such as McDonald’s and other fastfood chains promoting foods that are inexpensive, highly marketable, and chemically altered to increase cravings. These ads pop up on tv, on our smartphones, on bilboards, and in magazines, and radio commercials. The companies utilize advertizing strategies that promote obesogenic and unhealthy lifestyles. They also monopolize the food and health industry, keeping most people trapped in cue, routine, reward systems, but alas, I digress.
The subconscious mind impacts our nutrition status in a multitude of ways. This article addresses two of them. For more information, send me an email at alphaimmunenutrition.com.