Your Subconscious Body Is A Self Driving Machine

I Don't Think We Have Any Free Will Whatsoever, Says Robert Sapolsky

Your Subconscious Body Is A Self-Driving Machine

Have you ever wondered why, in the majority of your days, you drive home after work by the same road? Or when you get home, you park the car in the same spot? Why do you always open the door with the same hand? Conversely, why is it that you can’t find your keys when they’re not in their usual spot? How is it that you forget or struggle with a new protocol or practice at work simply because it’s something you’re not accustomed to doing? These seemingly trivial behaviors are manifestations of a powerful force at work—the subconscious mind. In fact, approximately 95% of our bodily functions operate on autopilot, raising the question of whether we truly have free will at all.

Scientific experiments have shed light on the power of habits and their impact on our subconscious. In a landmark study conducted by neurologist Ann Graybiel at MIT, researchers discovered that habits are formed through a process called “chunking.” Through repetitive actions, neural activity in the basal ganglia, a brain region associated with habit formation, increases. As habits become ingrained, they require less conscious effort to perform. This phenomenon explains why we engage in familiar routines automatically, without conscious decision-making.

Breaking deeply ingrained habits can be challenging due to the strength of the neural connections formed in the brain. However, neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganize itself, provides hope for change. Research by Dr. Elliot Berkman at the University of Oregon suggests that when people actively engage in goal-directed behavior, they can rewire their neural circuits and overcome ingrained habits. By consciously redirecting their actions, individuals can weaken the existing neural pathways associated with unwanted behaviors and strengthen new pathways aligned with their desired outcomes.

Emotions play a significant role in the interaction between the body and the subconscious mind. When we experience an emotion, such as fear or joy, it triggers the release of specific neurotransmitters that influence our thoughts, actions, and overall behavior. The amygdala, a brain structure involved in emotional processing, can modulate our conscious and subconscious responses. For example, fear-based responses can occur without conscious thought due to the amygdala’s rapid processing capabilities. Understanding the neurochemical interplay behind emotions can help us comprehend how our subconscious mind can exert control over our actions.

The concept of subconscious influence has fascinated scholars throughout history. Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, proposed the existence of the unconscious mind, which he believed shaped our thoughts and behaviors. Freud’s work explored how unresolved childhood experiences and repressed desires could manifest in subconscious actions. While some aspects of Freud’s theories have evolved over time, his ideas laid the groundwork for the study of the subconscious mind and its impact on human behavior.

Authors and researchers have delved into the realm of the subconscious mind, offering valuable insights and techniques for understanding and harnessing its power. In his book “The Power of Habit,” Charles Duhigg explores the science behind habit formation and provides practical strategies for breaking unwanted habits. Another influential work, “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, explores the interplay between conscious and unconscious thinking processes, shedding light on the role of intuition and biases in decision-making.

Advancements in neuroscience and technology continue to deepen our understanding of the subconscious mind. Scientists are using brain imaging techniques like functional MRI (fMRI) to observe the neural activity associated with subconscious processes. Recent research by Dr. John-Dylan Haynes at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience demonstrated the ability to predict subconscious decisions before they become consciously accessible.

Furthermore, studies have explored the impact of subconscious conditioning on various aspects of our lives. Research conducted by Dr. Wendy Wood at the University of Southern California examined the role of habits in health behaviors. The study found that habits play a significant role in determining our choices related to exercise, eating, and even smoking. These automatic behaviors, driven by the subconscious mind, can have a profound impact on our overall well-being and highlight the importance of consciously reshaping our habits for a healthier lifestyle.

In conclusion, our subconscious body operates as a self-driving machine, dictating the majority of our daily actions. The power of habit and conditioning is remarkable, with approximately 95% of our bodily functions driven by the subconscious mind. While this may raise questions about the extent of our free will, it also presents an opportunity for intentional change and growth. By understanding the scientific underpinnings of subconscious programming, exploring historical perspectives, and adopting practices like meditation, fitness routines, and conscious decision-making, we can break free from harmful conditioning and harness the potential of our conscious minds. As we continue to unravel the complexities of the subconscious and its interplay with emotions and neurochemicals, we pave the way for personal transformation and empowerment. Remember, as William James famously stated, “The chains of habit become too strong to be broken… until they are too strong to be broken.” With dedication and awareness, we can embrace our conscious agency and shape a future that aligns with our true desires and aspirations.