How to Speed Up Your Mental Processing

Dr. Caroline Leaf
3 min readJul 26, 2022

In a recent podcast (episode #402), I talked about mental processing speeds and how you can improve your thinking.

Since your nonconscious mind is operating at a faster speed than your conscious mind, there are techniques that you can learn to tap into your nonconscious mind. Intelligent thinking occurs in the nonconscious mind at about a million operations per second. Our nonconscious mind is therefore constantly working and is operating at faster speeds than our conscious mind.

To make this simple to understand, think about the way that cartoon animations are made. An illustrator will draw around 40 images of different actions and that will be put together to form one action that we can see and understand as an action on the TV as we watch the animation. Yet behind that one simple action are those 40 images that were put together in sometimes just under a second. For example, Mickey Mouse could be jumping up and down waving his hands and we only see the action as ONE scene yet behind that scene were multiple single images put together. This is comparable to how the nonconscious mind puts 40 or however many “actions, sensense, stimuli” together to form a conscious thought.

Basic signs of slower mental speed include a consistent pattern where you are struggling to follow or process what people are saying to you or you struggle to follow lectures, videos, conversations, readings, movies, stories and so on. An important thing to point out here is that everyone has those moments where they struggle to do all of these things. However, it is a concern when it is consistent.

But there is hope! Although our thought life is a stream of consciousness with thousands of individual thoughts blending together, we can bring a level of order to our thinking by managing what we allow in our mind and editing what is already in our mind and brain. We are able to learn to evaluate the individual frames of thought (those “individual illustrations”) by self regulating our stream of consciousness. By learning how to regulate our consciousness, we can learn to tap into our nonconscious mind at a faster rate and thus improve our mental speed!

So what exactly is regulating our stream of consciousness? And, how can we improve our mental speed? This means we have to learn how to tune into those individual “images” that make up the “action” we see. I have spent 38 years researching how to help people tap into the intelligence of the nonconscious mind…

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Dr. Caroline Leaf

Mental health expert. I have spent the last 30+ years researching ways to help people manage mental health issues in school, work, and life: drleaf.com