Ever found yourself arriving at a destination without remembering the journey?

A woman wearing blue sunglasses and a shawl drives a vintage car across a desert landscape.

Some people call this "auto-pilot mode". That's your subconscious skillfully handling routine tasks while your conscious mind wanders.

Dreams, meanwhile, are an example of unconscious behavior.

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But what really sets the subconscious apart from the unconscious?

Understanding these concepts can empower you to uncover hidden potentials and navigate your inner world more consciously.

Defining the Subconscious

The subconscious mindrefers to the part of our mental activity that occurs below the level of conscious awareness.

It holds our memories, beliefs, and emotions that influence our thoughts and behaviors.

Imagine your mind as an iceberg, with the tip being your conscious mind and the rest submerged beneath the surface.

A graphic of an iceberg captioned:

Consider the above example of driving home and arriving without remembering the exact details of the journey.

It happened because your subconscious mind took over, navigating the familiar route while your conscious mind may have been lost in thought or focused on something else.

Homer Simpson saying that his subconcious is a genius.

Understanding the Unconscious

The unconscious mind, on the other hand, refers to the deepest part of our psyche that stores repressed memories, instincts, and desires.

A man walking through an impressionistic painting of a forested path through a village.

It operates beyond our conscious control and is often associated with dreams, fantasies, and irrational behaviors.

Have you ever experienced a vivid dream that seemed to tap into your deepest fears or desires?

Disney character Pluto dreams about bathing in a mountain of bones. He has a happy expression on his face

Dreams are often considered a window to the unconscious, where our mind communicates in symbols and narratives that our conscious self may not recognize.

It's your unconscious mind at work, expressing thoughts and emotions that may not readily emerge during your waking hours.

Differentiating Between Subconscious vs Unconscious

While the subconscious and the unconscious are interconnected, they have distinct characteristics.

The subconscious operates just below the surface, readily accessible with awareness, while the unconscious remains hidden and requires deep exploration to uncover.

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To put it simply, the subconscious is like a personal assistant, always working in the background, whereas the unconscious is more like a hidden treasure chest, holding secrets and untapped potential.

A diver opening a treasure chest full of gold coins and jewellery.

Quiz time!

A woman plays an electric piano on a concert stage.

Jessica has practiced piano for years and now can play complex pieces effortlessly, without consciously thinking about each note.

Which of the following statements about Jessica is true?

A. She has developed her piano skills to a mastery level and her subconscious can now take over automatically.

B. She is expressing unconscious desires like anxiety and fear while she is playing.

C. She still needs to focus closely on her playing.

D. She is consciously trying not to think about her playing.


Which of the statements about Jessica is true?

Take Action

Now that you understand the difference between the subconscious vs unconscious, you're equipped to explore your inner world!

Different journals

Take a moment to reflect on how the subconscious and unconscious influence your thoughts, feelings, and actions.


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