Protect Your Peace: 5 Ways to Live More Consciously
Living consciously is about actively shaping your life, rather than being a passive consumer. It involves a heightened awareness of yourself and of the people and planet around you. These sound like lofty ideals, but there are simple things that you can do to live more consciously.
Here are five areas where you can make small, impactful changes immediately.
1. Waste Reduction
Conscious living involves being attuned to the world around you. As you experience the world more deeply and spend time in nature, you will likely find a greater desire to protect and preserve its health and beauty. Start with reducing waste.
An average person in the U.S. produces nearly 5 pounds of waste per day. There are many simple swaps you can do to reduce that amount. Try a few of the following suggestions:
- Swap out plastic grocery bags for reusable cloth bags.
- Trade paper towels out for cloth rags.
- Say no to plastic straws; carry a metal straw with you.
- Drink from a stainless steel water bottle instead of disposable plastic ones.
- Participate in a local recycling program.
Along with focusing outward on the planet, conscious living includes focusing inward. With our fast-paced world full of distractions, many people go throughout their day with divided attention. Practice focusing and being present. Try out a meditation practice; there are many easy-to-use methods that can be found online.
Spend at least a few minutes a day being still and quieting distracting thoughts. Increase your presence with those around you as well. Try to put your phone away during face-to-face conversations so that you can focus on the other person more fully.
Take the time regularly to reflect on your thoughts. Notice when your thoughts are not serving you. Try some daily affirmations: Pick a few empowering phrases and say them to yourself in the mirror each morning. Journaling is another powerful way to reflect. Gratitude journaling in particular holds many benefits.
Keep this simple: Pick out a nice notebook to keep by your bed. Spend a few minutes each evening writing down some things that you are grateful for or whatever else is on your mind.
Healthy personal boundaries are imperative for becoming your best self. Practice saying no to things that are not a good use of your time or that will cause you unneeded stress. Remind yourself to not take ownership for how others feel about those boundaries. Own your life decisions, even if they don’t align with external expectations. Living consciously often means going against ingrained cultural norms. Though this can be uncomfortable, it does get easier with practice.
Practice setting personal boundaries around your time and health. Choose things that will best serve you, such as getting enough sleep and having time to exercise. This might mean reducing excessive screen time or other unproductive activities. Learn to keep the commitments you make to yourself for your own best interests.
Be aware of the relationships that are influencing your life. Determine which relationships are serving you well and which are not. Choose to more fully invest in those relationships that are uplifting, empowering, and important to you. Your practice of focus and presence with those you spend time with will help with this. Consider letting go of or taking a step back from relationships that are draining your energy.
Striving to live more consciously can seem like a big undertaking, but small, incremental shifts make a big impact. Choose just one of these areas to work on at a time, and start slow. Incorporate more as you build momentum.