Karen Riley Hypnotherapy
Karen Riley Hypnotherapy

The Conscious & Unconscious Mind....... Brain Wave States

The Conscious Mind


The conscious mind only represents a mere 20% of the total mind's capacity, and can only be concerned with, or hold one single thought at a time. To some extent it has control over our nervous system, and is responsible for the voluntary actions of our muscles.The conscious mind is mainly active when we are awake and is responsible for our decision making processes, or rationalisation and analysis. It decides what action we will take, often based upon past unconscious experiences, and constantly re-assesses a situation to ensure that the correct action has been taken. 
The conscious mind has no memory capacity, and therefore only deals with the 'here and now' situation. 
When we go into a trance, whether induced as part of hypnosis, or as a natural process, our conscious mind is not really needed and becomes dormant. It operates in a similar way to an auto-pilot on an aircraft - should anything happen that requires the conscious mind to reawaken, it will do so immediately. 

The Unconscious Mind


The unconscious mind takes up the remaining 80% of our brain's capacity, and could be compared to a massive computer system that stores all of the information regarding our location, situation, feelings etc. It controls our Autonomic Nervous System such as our heart beat, breathing, organs and glands - in other words all of the things we do not have to think about. The unconscious mind has a perfect memory. In fact if you were to merely glance at the face of a passer by in a crowd, your unconscious mind would be able to recall every detail regarding that person such as his clothes, facial lines or wrinkles, everything that you saw. You may have to do some searching to find this information, but be assured that it would be there, even years later. The conscious mind constantly refers to it's counterpart for information. When a person is writing a word on a piece of paper, the unconscious mind will attempt to locate the correct spelling and then pass that information to the conscious mind so that it can instruct the muscles in the hand to act accordingly. In effect, the unconscious mind is like a computer program that runs our body for us. It never sleeps and will continue to runs it's program, such as digesting food, maintaining the body, healing cuts and bruises etc. 
Whilst in a trance state, the unconscious mind will accept any suggestion it receives without question. It must be remembered however that is a suggestion is not conducive with the moral code of the unconscious, or if it is perceived as a threat, then the conscious mind will reawaken to analyse the situation accordingly. 

Brain Wave States


There are four states of awareness that our brain goes through. They are known as brain wave states and can be measured by a electroencephalograph machine (E.E.G.). This machine measures the electrical activity taking place within the brain. 
When we are wide awake and alert we are in the Beta State. Our conscious mind is fully active and ready to analyse any information it receives. If we are performing a difficult task that requires a lot of concentration out brain would be in the Beta State. 
As we start to relax our brain wave cycles start to relax also, should this state of relaxation become deep enough, our brain would enter the Alpha State. This state is often referred to as the meditative state, the daydreaming state, or the trance state. Although we are not actually asleep, we are also not really awake. We are aware of things around us, perhaps we can hear noises or people talking, but they appear to be very distant. In this state the conscious mind has effectively fallen asleep, and our unconscious mind remains in control of our Autonomic Nervous System. In this state, any suggestions given to us would pass straight into the unconscious mind. We are effectively hypnotised. 
With further relaxation, we would fall into a light sleep, this is the Theta State, and from here we would normally fall into a deep sleep known as the Delta State. 
Under normal circumstances, we all pass through these four stages when we fall asleep, and then move back through them in reverse order as we awaken. Medical science has proven that we must all spend a certain amount of time in the Alpha State each day to function properly. 

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