Reprogramming Habitual Thinking and Behaviour: Neuroplasticity and the Unconscious Mind


Every day I see evidence of the extraordinary capabilities of the unconscious mind to swiftly reprogram habitual thinking and behaviour. I felt it would be beneficial to discuss the mechanism of brain neuroplasticity in this process.

The concept of the unconscious mind has intrigued psychologists and neuroscientist for centuries. Sigmund Freud, in the late 19th and 20th centuries, popularised the idea of the unconscious as a reservoir of repressed thoughts, desires and memories. However, contemporary research has expanded our understanding of the unconscious, highlighting its pivotal role in shaping our daily lives.

Addressing, resolving, recalibrating and healing deeply unconscious patterns, wounds, traumas or pain can change our perception of ourselves, others and the world we live in – often instantly. This can in turn have a profound impact on our relationships and our lives.

Our western culture often overlooks this incredible and undeniable internal force.

How the Unconscious Mind Works:

  • Automatic Processing: The unconscious mind excels in automatic processing, effortlessly handling vast amounts of information without conscious awareness. This is evident every second we are alive.

Our unconscious orchestrates a myriad of incredibly complex processes such as breathing and the intercommunication of all our organs – their intricate functions occurring simultaneously and harmoniously. This unconscious capacity also happens at an emotional or cognitive level enabling it to swiftly execute routine tasks and responses, from driving a car to tying shoelaces, freeing up cognitive resources for higher-order thinking.

  • Habit Formation: As a result of this automatic processing, habits and deeply ingrained behaviours often operate outside conscious awareness. Through repetition and reinforcement, the unconscious mind consolidates these habits or what feel like automatic responses, creating neural pathways that further streamline behaviours.

This process, while efficient in the positive, can also perpetuate detrimental habits and maladaptive emotional or behavioural reactions and patterns of behaviour. These can include negative or disruptive thinking or action such as anxiety, unwanted urges, addiction, fears, phobias, compulsive or insatiable responses, repeated trauma, and the list goes on.

  • Neuroplasticity: Neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to reorganize and adapt its structure in response to experience, lies at the heart of unconscious reprogramming. When exposed to new stimuli or experiences, the brain forms new neural connections and refines existing ones, effectively rewiring itself. This phenomenon underpins the unconscious mind's capacity to create and extinguish habits.

Neuroplasticity, as we understand it today, is therefore the reason we are able to create profound, fundamental and life-long change. This often happens instantly and permanently – using this incredible internal forcefield we call the unconscious mind.

The Process of Reprogramming Habitual Thinking and Behaviour:

  • Identifying Maladaptive Patterns: The first step in reprogramming habitual thinking and behaviour involves identifying maladaptive patterns. This requires introspection, self-awareness, and often external feedback to recognise entrenched habits that undermine personal growth and well-being.

When working with the unconscious mind it is therefore important to start with a conscious understanding of the healing that is about to take place unconsciously. This is a vital first step whereby issues are reframed through Neuro-Linguistic Programming to bring the conscious mind into alignment with the unconscious. The “magic” happens when you create this “Golden Handshake” or agreement between the conscious and unconscious mind.

  • Harnessing Neuroplasticity: Armed with awareness, individuals can leverage neuroplasticity to reprogram their unconscious mind. We can think of our unconscious mind as our ultimate protector – the part of us that wants us to thrive and knows exactly how to create that reality as far as physically possible.

Trauma and the associated patterns such as blocks, fear and negativity can be healed and resolved - often instantly. This is because it is much more natural and healthier to be in a “state of ease": than an unnatural, exhausting, unhealthy “state of un-ease”. The unconscious mind will take you there as fast as is possible and it’s for that reason that so many of my clients feel instantaneously reborn.

  • Consistency and Patience: Reprogramming the unconscious mind can also be a gradual process that demands consistency and patience. Just as habits are formed through repetition, so too are they extinguished. By persistently reinforcing desired behaviours and thought patterns, individuals can facilitate the emergence of healthier habits over time.

By consciously exposing themselves to new experiences, adopting alternative behaviours, and reframing habitual thoughts, they can initiate neural rewiring that gradually weakens old pathways and strengthens new ones.

A simple analogy is riding a bike. At first, we need to consciously juggle the many actions and thoughts required simultaneously to steer, change gears and balance at the appropriate speed.

Over time conscious processes form an “unconscious knowing” which occurs somewhat automatically.

Using unconscious processes and tools can speed up the evolution of change significantly, especially if the root cause has been addressed and healed. However, it can still require conscious participation – which goes back to the “Golden Handshake” between the conscious and unconscious mind.


The power of the unconscious mind to reprogram habitual thinking and behaviours is a testament to the remarkable plasticity of the human brain. By understanding and harnessing this innate capacity, individuals can liberate themselves from detrimental habits, cultivate resilience, and embark on journeys of personal transformation.

For some this will happen instantly. For others the change is more gradual. Through conscious effort, patience, and a commitment to growth, the unconscious mind becomes not just a repository of past experiences but a catalyst for positive change in the present and future.

The awesome truth about the unconscious mind is:

  •  You are never stuck in old patterns of behaviour or thinking.
  • You have an innate internal power-force that’s entire objective is to enable you to thrive – it knows exactly how to create this reality.
  • At an emotional level deeply entrenched lifelong wounds can be healed swiftly and permanently, returning you to your natural happy, healthy “state of ease”.

Disclaimer. Lyn Megan Macpherson is not a medical doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist, and does not claim to be one. She therefore holds no legal liability for the choices of readers who are encouraged to make informed decisions and seek medical advice if required.

Lyn Macpherson
Lyn Macpherson


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