We live in a time when the term conscious living may prompt many notions. Images of sage-burning yogis, beyond burgers and green juices may even come to mind. However, this very broad and limited understanding is misleading to the actual way of life. Saadiya Ahmad speaks with Nancy Zabaneh, Wellness Mentor and Kundalini Yoga Teacher Trainer who explains that ultimately, conscious living is about awareness.
What it means
At its core, Zabeneh explains that conscious living encompasses the ability to feel your feelings, communicating with authenticity and carrying out meaningful actions that contribute to your own well-being, as well as the well-being of others. She elaborates, “It is also about letting go of the uncontrollable, being sensitive to the world that we live in (as well as its influence on our choices) and recognizing that life is fullest when we are most true to ourselves.”
Each and every day we have the power to make informed, considered decisions that are better for our fellow human beings, better for our planet, and better for ourselves. Living consciously is about “waking up” to every aspect of your life and giving it considered attention, she says. “It is about choosing to be mindful in all matters, sensitive to what you consume with your senses, and of the effect this has on you.”
The fact is that everything around us, especially those things we regularly consume, impact us in a very tangible way. To offer some guidance towards a more conscious life, below are a few factors to consider.
Pay attention to what you eat and drink
Conscious eating is about being fully present with the act of whatever you are consuming, points out Zabaneh. “It is also about being mindful of each thing that you put into your body and knowing how a particular food will affect you,” she tells. “What you put into your body really does make a difference. Some of the most significant improvements to your overall health can be made, for example, by changing what you drink.”
Look at how you are spending your money
Conscious purchasing is about being mindful of the impact that spending has on you, on others and on the planet. “It is important to ask yourself simple questions like: Is this purchase necessary? Do I really need this? And how will this purchase impact me and those around me?” she says. “This element can be an entire lifestyle change. It is important to stay true to yourself in the process.”
Notice what you are watching
To be more conscious about your information consumption, you should think about a few questions.
What are the shows, movies and internet channels you spend your time watching? How much time do you spend on a screen each day between your smartphone, laptop, and television? Could you pay closer attention to how often you are checking your email and social media accounts daily? Are you learning new and meaningful things through your choices of what to watch?
Ideally, anything that does not feed your mind and body in a healthy way should be minimized. Once you are aware of the time spent, you will strive to minimize unnecessary digital clutter, which should lead you on to better living.
Consciously connect to others
Take a close look at the company that you keep. “It is important to be surrounded by compassionate beings who relate to the best version of you,” she says. “If spending time with certain individuals’ leaves you feeling drained, then perhaps the way this relationship functions is something you need to reconsider.” Perhaps it’s time to change your associations and to cultivate more conscious connections in your life; decide on the best avenues for making this happen and enjoy creating meaningful and long-lasting bonds with people who are aligned with your values. H