Are You Living Consciously?

I recently came across this article and it struck a chord with me. I wanted to share it with you and the message it conveys; not only to reveal my own answers, but to give you the chance to sit back and evaluate yourself and your life as well, because I think it's healthy to do so every now and then.

As you can probably gather from the title, the question seeking to be answered is 'are you living consciously?'

What is living consciously I hear you ask? I'm happy to admit that I hadn't really heard this term of living consciously either before I came across this article, so I put the question into Google and had a read of a few other sources as well.

In a nutshell, living consciously is not allowing external influences, habits and your subconsciousness to dictate your actions and decisions. Choosing to live consciously enables you to stop any negative actions, behaviours or habits from influencing your choices and instead gives you more control to make more positive ones. It's knowing how you can live your life to make yourself happier, and living in the present moment rather than always worrying about the past or future.

"Do you ever have a feeling that you're drifting through life, and not going where you want to go? Or that you don't know how you got where you are today?

Living consciously is about taking control of your life, about thinking about your decisions rather than making them without thought, about having a life that we want rather than settling for the one that befalls us."

Choosing to make an effort to live consciously can positively affect your life and your experience while here on earth in so many ways. It helps you direct your energy to where you really need and want it, which can be great if you're someone like me who can spend to much of their time overthinking and worrying about trivial things or things that simply don't need or deserve that much attention.

The article raised a few questions for you to ask yourself which can help you figure out whether you are currently living consciously or not. They are yes or no questions. If you answer no to most or all of them then you're likely already living consciously (go you!). If however you answer yes to most or all, then looking into this idea of living consciously and trying to practice it more may be beneficial to you. I'm going to put my answers to the questions as I go.

1. Are you in a job that you fell into rather than the job you want?
No - while I currently do not have a stable job, I answer this in relation to my most recent past jobs. I've done a bit of time in the casual, customer service world, but since I first applied for and worked in the freelance writing world, which I always wanted to do, I haven't looked back since. Freelancing has been a crazy ride so far (I may need to do a seperate post on my experience at some other time), but I'm always proud to be able to tell people that it's the industry I work in, and I'm proud I managed to get into it after always wanting to.

2. Are you doing things that are given to you rather than what you love to do?
No - While during the completion of my recent law degree it did feel like I was just doing the things I was given in order to get it done, during that period and since then, I've been doing things I enjoy and choosing to do things I think I'll enjoy, like working on my blog and choosing to enrol in a Masters.

3. Are you spending your time doing busy work rather than what you want to do with your days?
No - since finishing my degree I've had more time to focus on my blog, and also do other simple things I enjoy like reading, writing and getting outside. 

4. Do you wish you could spend more time with loved ones?
Yes - While I think I do spend a good amount of time with those around me I find important, I think there is certainly room for me to grow and be more social, which is a resolution, if you will, of mine for the new year.

5. Do you find yourself overweight because you’ve been eating the food you’ve been eating for years and stuck in a rut of not exercising?

6. Do you find yourself living from paycheck to paycheck or in debt, not knowing where your money goes?
Yes - while I wouldn't say I necessarily live pay check to pay check or have any serious debt, I am in a phase where I don't have any major, steady stream of income and I would like to pick up some more freelancing work to change this.

7. Do you find yourself wasting your time doing things that aren’t important rather than focusing on completing the things that are very important?

No - I think we all might be guilty of this every now and then, but overall I think I avoid wasting time fairly well.

8. Do you go through your days not thinking about what you want out of life and how to get it?
No - I think I'm actually guilty of focusing to much on the future and what I want to do and how I should get there, rather than focusing more on the present moment, which is something I want to change this new year.

If you're finding yourself thinking about living more consciously after going through those questions one of the first things to do is rid your life of negative influences. Going through that quiz and thinking about why it is you answered yes or no to those questions can be a start to identifying some of the negative influences in your life. Negative influences can be things like certain people, certain types of conversations you repeatedly find yourself having with yourself or others, or even something like your continual procrastination and the things you do to procrastinate. Another way to identify negative influences is to keep a journal and write down anything that influences you and your decisions for a period of time and evaluate whether it does so in a negative or positive way.

Another way to live more consciously is to engage in what is known as power sessions. These can last from any where between half an hour to one or more depending on what you need. These are time periods where you put all your focus and attention on completing important tasks. You need to make sure you don't get interrupted or disrupted during these periods, so turn off your phone, switch off the TV, maybe even turn off your Internet if you need. Make sure to focus on only completing those important things you want to get done and don't let yourself get sidetrack by something else. Having periods like this can dramatically increase your productivity and helps clear that thing off your to-do list and out of your mind to focus on other things.

Eliminating distractions is probably one you've heard before. Whether it's the TV or social media, you need to stop yourself from getting distracted and wasting hours sitting in front of the screen. Choosing to unplug your TV and only plug it in when a show or something is on that you really have an interest to watch, or downloading one of those apps that will block you from viewing certain websites during certain hours are steps to help here. By stopping yourself from wasting time here, you have more time to achieve more productive things.

Now that you've freed up all this time and have gotten all your important things to do out of the way, you'll probably find yourself with a lot of spare time. Normally you might fill this with TV or Facebook, but we've stopped wasting time there remember. This can be when boredom sinks in, and it can be oh so tempting to just jump back on the couch or in front of the computer to save yourself from it, but constantly choosing this path can make you feel like you're just drifting through life and leave you feeling unfulfilled; try embracing it instead. Don't run away from the boredom but instead use it as a time to reflect and think about things in your life, things you want to achieve, situations that have happened recently you want to assess. You can also fill this time with activities you wouldn't normally do or things you've always been meaning to try. You'll feel much more fulfilled spending spare time doing more productive and proactive things than if you manage to binge watch the entire season of a show.

What's your opinion?

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