“Life is too short to spend in negativity. So I have made a conscious effort to not be where I don’t want to be.” – Hugh Dillon
When you woke up this morning, did you mean to drink coffee while simultaneously checking emails, or did you merely do this out of sub-conscious habit? Maybe you’d rather wake up slowly, and only have one cup of coffee. Maybe you’d rather lay in bed for ten more minutes than immediately rush to your phone to check for notifications. Oftentimes, people become aware of things and make them a habit without even realizing it.
You can create conscious thinking patterns, and adopt a conscious lifestyle by becoming aware of your daily habits, and actually deciding if those are habits you want to keep around or not. To become aware of your own actions, we’re sharing creative techniques to help you start thinking more consciously.
5 Creative Ways to Practice Conscious Thinking
1. Make Daily Chores a Time for Self-Awareness
While you vacuum the house or wash the dishes, pay attention to how you feel. Do you feel tired, unenthused, uninspired, or apathetic? Put all your awareness into the act of doing the chores, and you will find that completing your daily tasks can actually be fun. Or, you might still hate doing chores, but either way, you can become aware of your thoughts during this time when most people let their brains run on autopilot.
If you give life to your chores and inject meaning into your daily tasks, you will feel more present in life rather than just being a silent spectator.
2. Pay Attention to What you Eat
Do you eat foods that give you life and nourish your cells, or do you feed your body with processed, chemical-laden products that have no nutritional value? When you live a fast-paced life, it can be very easy to drive through the closest fast food restaurant and settle for convenience rather than nutrition, but you may not even realize how often you opt for unhealthier choices. Once you become aware of this practice, you can easily incorporate a new practice.
You can choose to skip the fast food or frozen dinners, and instead eat more whole, fresh fruits and vegetables. You have the power to change your habits, and what you eat can either be a healthy or dangerous habit. Think about what you eat before you put it in your mouth, because food serves as one of the most important aspects of conscious living.
3. Keep a Journal
One of the best ways to keep tabs on your thoughts is by writing them down. Not only will this allow you to release bottled up emotions, but you will be able to see what your dominant thinking patterns are. If you have a lot of negative things to say, this could be the deciding factor in taking responsibility for your thoughts and your life.
Keep a gratitude journal, and list everything you’re thankful for, rather than everything you dislike in life. Even if you don’t enjoy writing, you could just write down a couple things that you enjoyed about your day before bed. This will empower you to keep paying attention to your thoughts, and encourage you to focus on all the good around you rather than the bad.
4. Spend Time on Technology Wisely
Every time you get on your phone or computer, what do you spend the majority of your time doing? Is it scrolling though Facebook or Instagram for hours, constantly checking emails, or shopping for new clothes or gadgets? Many people waste hours on social media or other unproductive websites each day, without even realizing it.
Technology isn’t inherently bad, it’s what you do with it that counts. You could spend your time online reading about things you enjoy, or emailing an old friend to say hi. Also, setting a limit for how much time you spend online each day can help you manage that time more efficiently. Use your online time to become aware of your technology habits, and then decide if those habits are benefiting or hurting you in the long run.
5. Do Something Outside of Your Comfort Zone
There’s not much of a better way to test your mind and spirit than taking them into unknown territory. By trying something new, you stimulate your spirit and immediately invalidate negative thinking patterns. Let’s say you decide to go to a poetry reading and present one of your best poems. You might feel extremely nervous about how people will react, but by facing your fears, you can create new thinking patterns that reinforce hope and confidence, rather than despair and unease. Before you get up on stage and read that poem, you can practice positive thinking. You can turn the “This poem isn’t good enough; everyone will hate it” or “I am too shy to speak on stage” into “I wrote this poem from my heart, so it can’t be bad” and “I am perfectly capable of reading this poem to everyone in this room.” Oftentimes, the life experiences that lead us far away from the beaten path will uncover the most about us and propel us into an entirely new way of thinking and living.