When you are asked what it means to live consciously, what do you say? Do you immediately answer that it's about sustainable living - you know - protecting the earth and reducing pollution, or do you think it is something else?
It is a well-known fact that living a conscious lifestyle involves you preserving the earth and protecting your body. However, it is more than that.
This life is a cycle, everything is connected, and nothing exists in a vacuum. Let's take, for instance, a decision you make every day.
You watched an advert for a new volumizing mascara, and you fall in love instantly. You head straight to their online store to purchase it (because you know we are in Covid times - social distancing fam).
While you're on their website, you read the list of ingredients, and it has parabens in them (stay with me people, we are getting there). You know parabens are toxic, but you're like "who cares, YOLO" so, you hit add to cart, checkout, and pay.
Your lovely mascara is delivered to you, and you use it every day without a doubt in your mind that you made the right choice. However, unknown to you, the parabens have started doing their magic to your endocrine system.
(Don't worry, I'm here for you. Your endocrine system controls your hormones).
So back to our story. The parabens start doing its thing of messing with your hormones. You continue to buy that same product for the next ten years until one day after a check-up with the doctor, you are diagnosed with breast cancer.
Fortunately for you, it was detected early, but it still puts a strain on you and your family. Them having to watch you go through chemotherapy treatments. The pain in their eyes, the hurt that they feel, that you feel - all because you used a product with parabens in it.
Yes, I know this example is extreme and grim, but you get the message. The life you are living right now is not just for you, it is for everyone around you, the animals and plants. Hence, the reason why you have to be conscious of it.
You have to always be aware of the decisions you make, how you talk, what you drink, eat, read and watch. You have to take charge of your life and wake up from the autopilot lifestyle you've grown accustomed to.
But then, how do you do it? How do you live a conscious lifestyle? Well, that's why I'm here to give you a beginner's guide to it.
How to Live a Conscious Lifestyle
The basis of a conscious lifestyle is mindfulness. Mindfulness is when you are aware of your present. When you are living in the now, the spectacular now (pun intended).
According to buddhaimonia.com, there are 9 ways to which you can live a more conscious lifestyle, but I will pick the 5 most crucial aspects.
1. Eat & Drink
1. Eat &Drink
What are you eating? What are you drinking? Do you just eat something because you grew up eating it? Do you eat something because everyone says it's good? Or because it is just sweet?
You have to eat with intention. The main purpose of food and drinks is for nourishment - that is why they exist. Yes, they do have to taste good (sometimes), but they have to also keep you alive.
Do not consume foods or drinks that would shorten your lifespan instead of extending it. Cut down on sugars, drink more water, and reduce your salt intake. Sure these are conventional and tired pieces of advice, but they are the truth.
Drink and eat to live.
What do you spend your money on? What do you use your money to support? Carrying on with a conscious lifestyle means that you are aware of your purchasing power. You are aware of how your spending habits affect society.
Do you buy merchandise from unethical companies - businesses that pay slave wages? Do you purchase from companies who stand on the path of justice when the need arises? Do you buy products that were tested on animals? Do you buy products that are healthy for your skin?
These are things you have to think about as a beginner navigating your way in the sphere of conscious living.
TV watching is the most mindless thing we engage in as a people. It is so easy for us to fix ourselves a plate and just sit in front of the television. We assimilate all kinds of information that would later manifest itself in ways we might not even be aware of.
You have to be careful about what you watch. While watching a movie, tv-show or news, you have to ask yourself if that particular information is necessary.
Is it helpful or informative? Will it make your life better or worse? You have to be mindful enough to catch yourself whenever things are about to go awry.
Yes, your teacher told you that reading is good, and it helps upgrade your vocabulary, but not everything should be read.
Reading salacious content from certain websites is not going to help your vocabulary. Nine out of ten times, you are more likely to read an angry exchange between people or probably someone projecting their insecurities on other people.
You have to be careful with such content because the more you spend time absorbing such information, the more you become like it.
Make sure to spend your time reading materials that would have a positive impact on your life. Articles and books that would make you take a stand for a good cause or improve your life in the ways in which you're lacking.
Let your reading nourish your soul.
Who you love can make you or break you, and the sad part is that most times, we are so caught up in our hormones that we forget to pace ourselves in the journey to love.
When we meet someone new, they are fascinating, and we want to spend every minute with them. However, we forget to ask the right questions. So fall in love with people we barely know, and when they hurt us really bad that it takes us forever to heal.
You have to walk into love, don’t fall. Be very mindful of how you give your heart to someone else.
Love is not restricted to who you fall for. The people in your life, that is, your family and friends, are people you love as well. You have to be intentional with that love. Show them that you do by calling them and visiting them. Be present.
Living consciously may not be easy, but it is achievable. You will face some existential crisis like asking yourself why try when nobody else cares, but remember - that’s how great things begin.
It always starts with a few people and stays with them for a while, but as time goes on, more people join in till it becomes the norm.
Don’t stop, don’t give up.