With how hectic life can be, sometimes tuning out and turning on the autopilot seems like a good option. We’ve all been there; it’s perfectly okay to feel that way. But on the contrary, in moments of “living consciously” we have the opportunity to develop depth in our view of the world and our place in it.
Living consciously is a mindset, a way of seeing everything around you with another layer of observation. It’s the ability to pause and allow yourself the chance to consider other perspectives. This can be applied to many facets of our lives; Why do we adopt certain habits? How do we understand ourselves and the layers of what make us up as individuals? What do we observe about the world and what we can do to make it better? Any question that you have, about yourself or anything around you, has the potential to be broken down into more questions. It doesn’t have to be an endless process by any means, but if you push yourself to reach just one more layer of questioning, you might learn something you didn’t expect to.
In addition, this willingness to question is often the key to overcoming difficulties. If you’re being affected by something in a negative way or feel negatively about a certain situation, there are a number of contributing variables involved. Sometimes a complex combination of variables in fact. The way to overcome them is by breaking down the problem to reveal it’s moving parts. Laura La Bella voices this idea nicely, “The more you comprehend the details, the better you will understand the larger process.” (The 7 Character Strengths of Highly Successful Students)
There are many ways that we can stay curious about what’s around us. Our 5 senses alone give us plenty of sensory input when exploring new territory! We are built to be active, challenged and engaged. And we’re all born with curiosity –the average 4 year old asks nearly 300 questions a day!
Part of becoming more aware and conscious of yourself and your surroundings has to do with slowing down and taking the time to experience your naturally curious senses. Whether it’s being outdoors on a hike to soak in fresh air or quietly meditating to gain mental clarity or even the anticipation of looking forward to a vacation, these types of experiences allow us to adopt mindful, refreshing and grounding habits. Taking a break from your regular routine, whether it’s physically, mentally or emotionally, is crucial to your personal sense of health, happiness, and consciousness.
The problem arises when we unconsciously slip into that careless and unaware state. We start missing out on the great opportunities of life, and sometimes lose sight of ourselves in the process. Living consciously can counter this and keep your head afloat while you go through some of life’s natural ups and downs.
To fully lead a conscious life we need to create our own normal, apart from society’s standard. We have to allow ourselves to question our surroundings and habits. Questions are healthy, they make us re-evaluate and consider new perspectives. Even if our answers don’t change, asking questions gives us the opportunity to look at life through difference lenses.
Are you living unconsciously now? Ask yourself these questions and if you find yourself consistently saying “yes,” you might want to try to further develop your conscious lifestyle:
1. Are you in a place in life that you happened to fall into vs. ideally where you want to be?
2. Do you wish you could spend more time with the people you love?
3. Are you unhappy with the way you feel physically because you’ve been eating the same food for years or are stuck in a rut of not exercising?
4. Do you feel your days are packed with busy work rather than what you would ideally want to be doing?
5. Do you find yourself living from paycheck to paycheck, in debt, or not knowing where your money goes?
6. Are you unaware of your stress levels and what affects them, vs. being in tune with what keeps you calm and grounded?
7. Do you go through your days on autopilot, not thinking about what you want out of life and how to get it?
8. Are you generally unaware of or desensitized to how you affect other people with your actions?
If you answered “no” to all of these questions, you likely have a good grasp on maintaining a conscious lifestyle, but that doesn't mean you can’t benefit from further developing it. No matter what your answers were, if you would like to live more consciously and want fresh ideas, read on…
HOW TO LIVE LIFE CONSCIOUSLY
Don’t let the process of learning to be more conscious intimidate you. By doing little things like what we suggest below, you can immediately impact your level of consciousness and the way you feel. Be patient with yourself when adopting this mindset as a consistent way of living, it doesn’t happen overnight. The little efforts that you make to change your perspective will add up to create a larger shift in your awareness, of both yourself and your environment.
Here’s a list of simple ways to live more consciously. If you have something you would like to add, please leave a comment below:
1. Explore your sense of self:
The process of becoming more mindful starts with you. How could you lead conscious lifestyle without fully knowing yourself? What kind of person are you? What are your values and are you living by them? How do you treat people? How you treat yourself? Considering the self allows us to develop an understanding of our true nature as individuals.
2. Think about how you spend your time:
Review how your time is spent. For a day or two, keep a log of your daily activities. What you learn may influence how you spend your time in the future. This change of perspective might surprise you.
3. Consider your impact on the world:
How does the way you live impact the environment? How do you affect the people around you? How do you influence your community? You impact the world in many ways, whether you’re aware of it or not.
4. Make it a point to review your life goals:
Set aside time to look at your goals in life. What are you working towards? What’s most important to you? How will you accomplish your goals and get to where you ideally want to be? What are the challenges you may face and how can you overcome them? Write down the answers to these questions and keep them in a place that you’ll look back on often. Break down the big goals by creating realistic steps that help you accomplish them. Hold yourself to the challenge and take action towards reaching them.
5. Practice meditation:
Meditation can take many different forms. Whether you have a great deal of experience or not, the art of meditation has potential to add to your life and your state of consciousness in a powerfully positive way. It is an act of tuning into your senses, awareness and peace of mind. Meditative practices have the power to bring deep clarity and focus to your daily way of life.