By: Emon Johnson
In life, we all face hardships and challenges that discourage us and disrupt our progress.
In these moments, we often experience stale flashes of conscious living; most of the time, too stressed or distracted from our recent heartbreak, upcoming test, bill notice, or stubbed toe, to focus on the outside world.
Or ourselves even.
I’ve personally experienced several stages of living in which I wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing, where I was going, or who I was, even. And though we all will face these patches of tedious engagement at some point in our lives, increasing conscious living is more than possible.
In today’s post, I’m going to show you just how to do so, so that you can get back to your life and intentionally pursue the things you want.
One of the first, most important, and most beneficial things you can do to start increasing your conscious living is exercising. Regular physical activity teaches you that though progress can be taxing, the results are damn worth it.
Aside from the obvious benefits of a more aesthetically pleasing body, exercise improves your brain functioning, provides emotional stability, increases mood, decreases anxiety, and boosts self-efficacy
AND! Pay respect to the improved flexibility and strength you get from exercise, which open a world of different motions and actions you can now perform.
Those keys you dropped that normally required you to bend a knee, place a hand on the planted knee, grab the keys, grunt, then struggle to get up, slightly winded; now, can be picked up with a simple bend of the back and swoop of the arms. Thank you exercise.
Those stairs you have to climb because you left your much needed deodorant upstairs, stinky armpits-ass, where you’ll then contemplate whether you truly need it and come up with a hundred reasons why it’s too far or unnecessary to climb the stairs; now, are like walking on flat ground. Another point to exercise.
Speaking of points, the point of regular exercise is that it teaches you that movement and possible discomfort, are necessary components of progress. Consciously choosing to seek them, rather than allowing the multitude of reasons why not to, is a major step in mastering conscious living.
The quicker you get with making uncomfortable, yet blatantly beneficial decisions, the better you get at looking for the benefits of those actions; rather than, again, the reasons not to.
If you are new to physical activity, or interested in good starter exercises to get your body acclimated, investigate these techniques. Each of which can be performed at home, without the use of equipment.
To control your mind is to master the influx of choices presented to you at every moment of the day. Do this, and conscious living becomes all the easier to maintain.
Meditation, or, the mental practice of using certain techniques to calm the body and expand one’s awareness and attentiveness, is the perfect tool for the job.
There are several types of meditation, most of which involve sitting, remaining still, and focusing on your breathing or a singular internal or external force.
It has been shown to successfully decrease stress, improve focus, quell aggression, increase compassion, and leave a number of other positive imprints on people.
3. Be Bored
Sounds a bit counterintuitive, huh? Being bored to increase conscious living. Well, it’s not as farfetch as it may seem.
Research suggests that boredom has a number of benefits. It can make you more creative, more productive, inform you when it’s time to try something new, and make you more kind.
Remember the days where you laid on your bed, tossing a ball up in the air, bored out of your mind…but not entirely.
Instead, you were at least occupied with that activity. And, if you were really good at this, you’d try and hit the top of the roof, ever so slightly, or at the right angle, and have the ball ricochet back to you perfectly.
Boredom, in this sense, allowed you to play with yourself (not like that).
Truthfully though, being bored challenged you to entertain yourself and unravel your own mind.
It can allow thoughts normally suppressed or ignored, to surface, thus allowing you to address them more directly, rather than watching another DudePerfect video and pretending those thoughts don’t matter.
And, addressing these thoughts can trigger a call to action, making you want to disengage with them by running away into some other, more stimulating activity; or, engage with them so that you don’t have to experience them any more.
Or in other words, find solutions to the troubles in your life.
4. Set Small Goals
To live intentionally, consciously, is to choose to live. To do this, you must have goals.
Oftentimes, however, we make the mistake of setting very large goals, with no smaller achievements planned in between, that will get us to that larger goal.
Imagine the game Frogger. The ultimate goal is to just make it across that godforsaken stream or street.
The smaller goals though, jumping from lily pad to lily pad, log to lily pad: avoiding traffic or snakes, those are what really matter.
Because those are the goals that’ll get you to the other side.
In your pursuit to more conscious living, find your lily pads. Break down your ultimate goals into smaller steps, and tackle them one-by-one, until you reach your destination.
5. Track Your Avoidant Behavior
Last but certainly not least, to increase conscious living, it is paramount that you know what you do, when you don’t want to do something.
Sometimes we pick our nose. Other times we suck our thumbs.
Sometimes we’ll play video games, or watch TV. And other times we’ll simply stare at the wall or call a friend who makes us feel better.
Whatever it is, we all have behaviors we do when we don’t want to think.
These avoidant behaviors take valuable time and energy away from the things that matter; and, due to the lack of pressure and sense of satisfaction or pacification they bring, they suck us in, poisoning the legitimacy we’re establishing on more important tasks.
“Just one more video. I don’t need to do homework right now. I can even miss one or two assignments and be fine.”
Similar to avoiding movement because exercise is not in our operational archive, we’ll engage in pacifying behaviors with activities we find mundane, regardless of their immediacy.
It’s amazing how you can find picking a scab to be more stimulating than improving a piece of sheet music or a book idea you’ve wanted to finish for months.
In order to overcome these avoidant behaviors, we must set contingencies in our brains that keep us on track with our current activities.
You’re not always going to be 100% focused on the tasks at hand, but thankfully, many times, you won’t have to be.
A lot of activities, even our creative ones, have smaller, less thought-provoking portions, of them, that can be done at 70, 60, even 50 percent of our max effort.
Doing so, allows us to continue with what must be done, turning the gears and filling the blanks, so that the more difficult areas become simplified.
Basically, lighten the load, but do not stop.
Set goals and checkpoints that you must reach.
And, once you feel yourself beginning to pick your nose or scab, or text someone, STOP!
Stop, and realize your focus is dropping below 100%, and it will enter a new zone of functionality, should you not retain that momentum.
If this happens, do not fret. Simply work on the easier things you know you can do, build back to 100%, and finish the job.
At the very least, make it to that check point, and then, pick your nose or stare at that wall.
Life is too short to let it simply slip by. It’s too short to allow yourself to continually set “in the future plans” of when you’ll deliberately try hard.
You never know when you’ll get thrown off your ropes, stuck simply trying to get back to square one of your master plan.
And, it is also too long for bullshit.
Misery creates the worst kinds of people. Cynist, nihilist , naysayers. Most of the time, these people suck. Ass.
Living in a world, where you too, seek nothing, enjoy nothing, and look for the downfall in all plans and people, sounds like a long, long time, of ass sucking.
That life’s not for me. And I hope, not for you either.
Instead, I choose to consciously live, and improve every single day.
What about you?