I find myself asking my son constantly “Was that conscious or unconscious living?” All he can do is chuckle and sing with a drawl…”Unconscious living” and roll his eyes. But, I found after observing myself that I was doing a lot of unconscious living and discovered I was basically stuck and living an ineffective life.
I also noticed that during these times I was living unconsciously that default programming would start running too. During these times are when I found myself ruminating, obsessing, and hyper-focusing on all of the things that were either not what I wanted or how I wanted it. I found procrastination was at its peak during these times as well. I also noticed that I engaged in the blame game constantly too. Not to mention resistance was at its peak.
Unconscious living is like a brain drain that literally drains the vitality and energy out of our lives and stifles our creativity, passion, and dreams. I discovered if I wasn’t careful I could slip into this comatose state relatively easy too. It’s a type of living that demands distraction after distraction. Whether the distraction is packaged as ruminating on past mistakes, things that are not working the way we want, TV, Internet, activities, work, friends, lovers, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, hobbies etc.
I’m not saying they are distractions in and of themselves. But, I notice they have the highest potential to serve in that capacity any time we slip into unconscious living and have relocated to living inside of our heads. Conscious living produces greater results because we practice living and engaging in the now. During unconscious living we are either in no man’s land, the past, or the future and not in a good way either.
During these times if we’re in the past, we’re dredging up all the things gone bad from the past. If it’s the future, we’re dreading and imagining the worst possible outcomes for what we desire. But, back to conscious living….it is a habit just like unconscious living. If our default state of living is unconscious then we must be more deliberate to cultivate the habit of conscious living.
I have discovered the following tips can help to keep us anchored in the here and now. So whenever you feel overwhelmed by unconscious living or have basically checked out mentally and days, weeks, or months are passing by and you can’t account for your time then try incorporating these tips into your life:
(1) Focus on your breathing – A very good technique to bring your mind back into the here and now. Observe your breath. How is breath flowing through your body? Smooth or choppy? Fast or slow? Where does it start? Where does it end? For every minute that you practice focusing on your breathing, it is a minute you have practiced living in the here and now.
(2) Set goals for different segments of your day – start asking yourself what outcomes do I want for my morning, afternoon, evening? Write them down and then check them off the list as you complete them. I like rewards. So reward yourself with a small treat whenever you reach your goals.
(3) Maintain a time log – write down in as much detail as you want how you are spending your time. This is a real eyeopener. This one will help you to determine if you are living consciously or unconsciously for sure. Google sample time log templates and you should be able to find one to write down every 15 to 30 minutes how you used your time.
(4) Exercise/Dance – moving your body promotes healthy brainwave patterns, healthy neurotransmitter levels, and great circulation throughout your nervous system. Commit to move it, move it at least 15 minutes a day.
(5) Meditation – will allow you to access your higher consciousness and inner awareness. A number of studies have shown that certain types of meditation can increase concentration and improve focus, bringing the mind more under the control of the will.
(6) Embrace Nature – actively take in nature. Observe the clouds, stars, birds, trees, flowers, etc. Touch the leaves on the trees. Lean against the trunk of the trees soak in their energy. Stop and smell the flowers.
(7) Be Grateful – give thanks for all that you have. Give thanks for friends and family. Give thanks for all of your experiences. Give thanks to the countless people who work in service for us to have food, shelter, electricity, gas, etc. Make it a habit to count all the blessings and focus on what is working in life.
(8) Intend to Live Consciously – If you have the intention to raise your consciousness and state of awareness, you are on the right track. Having the intention alone will make you more focused on finding ways to raise your consciousness. Like the old adage says, “Where there is a will, there is a way.”
(9) Expand your life – trying something new can pertain to any area of your life. Maybe you want to try to add a new healthy habit to your daily routine, shop at an organic store, or drive a new way to work/school. Having courage raises your consciousness and by constantly trying new things, you boost your cognitive ability to adapt and push through any lower states of fear.
(10) Take time for yourself – taking time for internal reflection is the single most effective way to learn more about yourself and your current state of consciousness. Internal reflection will certainly help you better understand your thoughts, emotions, spirituality, and provide clarity in your current life situation. If you don’t currently take time to internally reflect, you could very well start up a 20 minute meditation routine each morning and observe the difference it quickly makes in your state of consciousness.
Hopefully, you’re inspired to make conscious living a high priority. Wouldn’t it be nice if life came with a prompt like Pandora whenever we slipped into unconscious living? You know the one that says “Still listening?” I think it would be nice if we had one for life that said “Still consciously living?”