How to Control Subconscious Impulses and Outbursts


Sometimes I have incredible bursts of energy towards the end of the school day. I am unable to control my impulses and am overtaken with powerful urges to move around/dance, or scream/make jokes/make strange noises, and all this brings me attention from others (laughter, disbelief, disgust, etc.) The attention I get feeds something in me, but I don’t know what it is. Where does this unstoppable energy come from?

—Carolyn, USA


Dear Carolyn,

In the human mind there exists a large reservoir, a giant lake, wherein is hidden impressions, memories, the trace residue of countless impressions caused by one’s actions, emotions, thoughts and sense impressions. Compared to it, the conscious mind is like a military tank driver who can only see in front him through a narrow glass slot at the battlefield ahead. The driver is surrounded by tons of metal, creating a cocoon which, while it provides some protection and safety, blinds and separates him from the reality in which he lives and breathes. Thus the driver, in effect, is vulnerable to that which he cannot see: the enemy hidden in the trees, or behind or on the sides. Outbursts are akin to landmines over which the tank drives: they explode in the driver’s face, sometimes harmlessly; other times, not.

When, in a given individual, the subconscious mind overtakes the directives and intentions of the conscious mind, and acts out scenarios that make no sense to anyone else or are otherwise inappropriate to the landscape of people and objects around, that individual risks a downhill slide into mental illness. Now, I’m not saying you are on any downhill slide! Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure the rest of the time the “you” is generally conscious, intentional and appropriate in your words and actions. What I am saying is that outbursts of energy (that we yogis call “prana”), while normal to some degree in everyone (“Wow, why did I say that!”), lack reason or defy logical explanation. An amateur analyst might say these outbursts reflect a need for attention, for example. But that is too obvious and too simple.

Energetically (in terms of the intelligence and power of prana contained in the subconscious mind), it is safe to acknowledge that having to sit and listen or read or write all day in attentive silence is simply too much containment of your natural and necessary need for self-expression.

There are two suggestions that seem obvious and hopefully useful. And they are not “either-or,” but “both-and.”

  1. Rather than suppress self-expression, make it a point during the day, to find appropriate opportunities to speak and share or ask questions. Aren’t there times in the day when there are breaks from the problem? You might also benefit from doing some stretches or walking during break times.
  2. Through the practice of yoga and meditation, learn to internalize and calm the “prana” (the body’s life force).
  3. Practice the art and science during activities of listening to others and remaining calmly centered in yourself (a form of meditation) amidst what is happening around you, keeping a calm and receptive manner without mental or emotional analysis or reaction. Enter the “witnessing state” of consciousness: alive, awake, but only observing. The analytical mind is at rest; the inner narrative is quiet.

Internalization (#2 and #3) is a more difficult practice and lifestyle than #1 but it offers far more rewards in terms of clarity of mind, peace of heart, and reduction of stress and anxiety.

Lastly, try not to analyze or stress about these outbursts. If it happens without your conscious control, let it go if no one is hurt one way or another. I’m not saying to allow them to continue. I’m saying that to whatever degree as your efforts (such as described above) have not yet brought these outbursts under your conscious control, let what does come out go.

Talk to your subconscious mind. Establish a relationship with it by internal conversation. You talk; it listens.

You can reprogram the subconscious mind by feeding it positive thoughts and repeated affirmations. (The latter before sleep and upon waking.) So talk to it about those outbursts and encourage the subconscious mind to ask you first before it speaks through you. OK? Be playful; be a friend and expect its support, for the subconscious has the given function to act as your servant. It allows you to do certain repetitive tasks without having to re-learn or think about them.

The subconscious exerts a strong influence over most people, who are not generally conscious of its influence. But when the servant begins to take over, that’s when trouble begins. Influences, as to attitudes and tastes developed from one’s upbringing, for example, are one thing, but unwanted intention and will of the subconscious mind is quite another. There’s a need to take conscious control.

So, calmly and confidently begin to take charge, okay?

Lastly, invoke the power of the superconscious mind, from which the conscious and subconscious minds derive their innate energy and intelligence. The greatest aid to becoming “master of your destiny” is to access the superconscious state of mind through daily meditation. “Be still and know, I AM….” (Psalms 46:10). offers courses online in meditation. No single daily practice will do more than meditation to change your life and its directions in a positive direction!

Joy to You!
Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA