Déjà vu is a French term that literally translates to already seen. It's the sense that you've seen or experienced something exactly the same once…or multiple times, before. Déjà vu can be a once-in-a-lifetime tug on your memory that feels like a surreal connection to a past life, a radical recollection, or a premonition you had in a dream. It can also be that sense of "here we go again" when your thoughts or behaviors trigger an unwanted outcome.
There are multiple theories connected to déjà vu, including reincarnation theory, which is the theory of multiple lives, and Glitch theory, which is based on Einstein's theory that time is an illusion and the past, present, and future are happening simultaneously. Another theory is based on how the conscious and subconscious mind work together to share important information.
The Conscious Mind Isn't Always Aware
Our conscious mind is the mind we use when we are awake and paying attention to things. Our conscious mind comes into play when we are focused and actively thinking. When we are awake, it is active, but when we sleep or stop paying "attention," we aren't always aware of what's going on around us. For example, when we sleep, our conscious mind is at rest, and we are unaware of the stimulus around us unless we are roused from our sleep.
The Subconscious Mind Is Always Aware
Our subconscious mind is active all the time. It's what helps you breathe and keeps your heart beating. We don't have to think about the things our subconscious mind regulates. Our subconscious mind also stores our long-term memories. These are the memories that move past short-term where they otherwise would be forgotten into the long-term space of our brain.
Some Déjà Vu is the Subconscious Mind
Sometimes the subconscious mind is triggered, and we are flooded with thoughts, feelings, and emotions that we can't pinpoint. We know we've felt them, but not sure what the connection is at the moment. An example can include PTSD, also called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, where our subconscious can be triggered in the present and create a reaction based on past trauma.
Experiencing subconscious déjà vu can be an important clue to self-reflect and get introspective. Our subconscious is a lot like a GPS system. It knows when we are off base or off track. It nudges us that we need to examine or take a look at things. That can account for why we feel a pit in our stomach after engaging in poor behavior or a sense of "why does this keep happening to me?"
Pay Close Attention When You Sense Déjà Vu
If you find that you are being nudged by your subconscious, it's important to pay attention and reflect on what's happening and why. The sense that you've seen this situation before can be an indicator that you need to pay close attention and get a handle on things. Paying close attention to the nudge can help you stop dysfunctional or self-sabotaging behaviors rather than keep repeating them over and over again.