By Sarmistha Mitra
Our subconscious mind plays a very significant role in our overall wellbeing. It operates below the level of our conscious awareness, encompassing thoughts, feelings, memories, and automatic behaviors that we’re not actively thinking about at a given moment.
A legacy from our ancestors
While we are centuries on in terms of evolution, the subconscious mind continues to be driven by the concept of ‘survival of the fittest’. It is a repository of evolutionary adaptations and learned behaviors that helped our ancestors to survive and adapt to their environments.
These adaptations remain encoded in our subconscious and often serve as ‘rules’ for fit behavior and appropriate physiological responses. Yet in the present day, some of these ancestral rules may no longer be relevant or functional, given the vastly different environment and challenges we face.
Ten modern-day signs of enduring ancestral rules
As those outdated rules continue to dominate our subconscious beliefs and behaviors, they manifest in our modern-day lives in different ways. Some relatable examples of the influence of ancestral survival instincts include:
- Fear of Public Speaking: A person’s fear of public speaking may be traced back to an ancestral rule where being highly visible in a community could have posed risks, like being a target for predators or enemies. Even in modern times, this fear can manifest as social anxiety.
- Hoarding Items: Beyond food hoarding, hoarding items in general might be linked to an ancestral survival strategy of collecting and conserving resources. In contemporary life, this can lead to clutter and difficulty letting go of possessions.
- Procrastination: Procrastination could be tied to an ancestral inclination to conserve energy. Ancestors who were overly active without a pressing need could have exhausted themselves, making them less able to respond to immediate threats. This might translate into modern procrastination tendencies.
- Avoiding Risk: An aversion to taking risks might be rooted in ancestral survival, where taking risks could have led to dangerous situations. In modern society, this can hinder personal growth and opportunities.
- Social Conformity: The desire to conform to societal norms and expectations might be related to a survival strategy of fitting in with the group for protection. This can impact individuality and personal development.
- Emotional Suppression: The habit of suppressing emotions may be connected to an ancestral need to avoid drawing attention in potentially hostile environments. However, in contemporary life, this can lead to emotional repression and mental health issues.
- Ingrained Dietary Preferences: Some dietary preferences may have been passed down from ancestors who survived by consuming specific foods. For example, a preference for high-calorie, fatty foods may have roots in times of food scarcity.
- Conflict Avoidance: Avoiding conflict can be linked to ancestral survival strategies where conflict within a group could lead to expulsion or isolation, endangering an individual’s safety.
- Collecting and Displaying Wealth: The desire to accumulate wealth and display it could be traced back to ancestors who amassed resources as a means of security. In modern times, this might lead to excessive materialism.
- Chronic Stress Response: A heightened stress response might be a result of ancestors who needed to be constantly vigilant for threats. In contemporary life, chronic stress can have detrimental effects on mental and physical health.
Reprogramming for sub-conscious fitness
To re-write the ancestral rules and achieve subconscious fitness, we must undergo a process of ‘reprogramming’ or ‘retraining’ the subconscious mind. This requires self-awareness and conscious efforts to identify and update the outdated rules that are engrained in our subconscious.
The pathway to subconscious fitness is a unique journey for each person. Techniques such as hypnotherapy and regression therapy can help unlock the subconscious mind in the context of our own ancestral heritage, to become more aware of our origins and work towards adapting them to better suit modern-day circumstances.
By acknowledging and changing these unfit, potentially counterproductive patterns of thought and behavior, we can align our mind and body according to the needs of our present environment and live a more fulfilling and productive life.
Sarmistha Mitra is Founder and CEO Dubai-based holistic health and wellness center, The Wellbeing Sanctuary, and creator of DecodeYou®️: A Path to Self-Mastery, a program that harnesses the power of the subconscious mind to unlock one’s true potential.