Mind Games

The real world can be a little too harsh at times. Fiction seems better than reality.We are often greatly affected by the events taking place in a day.A single incident or a person can make our mood go down from jolly to depressed and vice versa.But how much do we really feel? If the mind was a system, it would be divided into three parts : the conscious,the subconscious and the unconscious mind.

The conscious mind is your awareness at the present. You are well aware of the present surroundings as well as your own mental functions. The subconscious mind consists of accessible information. You become aware of such information once you direct your attention towards it.It is sort of like memory recall. It’s the very reason a person can multi task efficiently,like talking on their cellphones and yet reaching home using their regular route. The unconscious mind however consists of primitive, instinctual wishes as well as the information we can’t access. We cannot always recall all details of our childhood memories.

At times the subconscious mind can act as the unconscious and vice versa. You could suddenly remember a long forgotten childhood incident, especially in the presence of a strong trigger. At times, our brain lets us forget certain memories as a defensive mechanism especially in case of trauma. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is most commonly found in children who have suffered some sort of trauma.

We can assume our brain to be like a sponge.It absorbs anything and everything that happens around us. Even if we aren’t consciously aware of the incidents happening, the subconscious is always sneakily taking notes. In fact various tests have concluded that even though the body is at a relaxed state during sleep, the brain is almost as active as when it’s awake.When we fall into a deep state of sleep, we fall into a cycle of sleep characterised by Rapid Eye Movement (REM). That is the state when most vivid dreams take place.

These dreams are said to originate in the visual centre of the cerebral cortex. While the part of the visual cortex that records new images each day sleeps right with you, the part which interprets images is still wide awake and working in full swing. So accordingly the images that we see should make some sense right? So why do we get these vague dreams. Falling from a height, flying or seeing a snake in your dream are one of the most common dreams that people see. It is perceived that mostly dreams are composed of our deepest desires or fears. I get a recurring dream about swimming in the ocean, and I barely dare to swim in any pool deeper than five feet (embarrassing right?).

Dreams can often be compelling and confusing. Researchers and psychologists have been studying the patterns of dreams over the years by conducting studies and interpreting dream diaries. Sigmund Freud believed that dreams are stories of wish fulfillment that could reveal a lot about a person’s psyche. According to some researchers, dreams have a therapeutic value. Dr Ernest Hartmann,MD proposes that the neurological processes that create dreams are also responsible for the creation of a therapeutic zone in the brain. Though yet again like many other researchers, his theories remain unproven.

Dreams are one of the umpteen unexplained phenomena of the human body. Why is it that we forget our dreams as well? Except for the most vivid ones?Perhaps the most compelling explanation is the lack of norepinephrine in the cerebral cortex. Though even that does not explain the entire thing. Hyperthymesia, the opposite of amnesia and the condition which enables a person to have a perfect recall of all the incidents from past to present,may sound like a fantastical notion. But till now twenty-five cases of Hyperthymesia have been reported and published in peer reviewed journals. Many would feel like it’s the best thing one could ask for . It’s our ability to forget things over time that makes us forgive people and get over traumatizing incidents. Imagine if you could never erase anyone or anything from your memory. How would you feel? Just a thing to ponder upon.

 

 

Sources:

http://staroversky.com/blog/three-minds-conscious-subcosncious-unconscious
http://chealth.canoe.ca/channel_health_features_details.asp?health_feature_id=363&article_id=1140&channel_id=135&relati
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-do-memories-of-vivid-dreams/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperthymesia

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