Being conscious and aware of yourself is truly a full-time job but it’s really about remembering to remember to be conscious. You may have read a book or two, or heard someone speak about this very subject, and you may therefore have realized how important it is for you to begin the process of being conscious and aware of yourself. But you keep forgetting. Hours go by, and you suddenly remember, but then days go by before you remember again. Doing it like that will mean that it will be a very slow process indeed.
So what can you do to remember more frequently?
I believe there are two easy mechanisms to use: the first has to do with setting up reminders that will be all around you during that early time where you are attempting to acquire the habit of awareness, and the second has to do with practicing some simple exercise that serve to do the same, although they are apparently different.
- Put up some post it’s around your house (bathroom mirror, bedroom mirror, refrigerator, computer or tablet monitor, etc.). Write something on those post it’s that will help you remember to remember to be aware and conscious. For example: write a favorite brief quotation and then you will know that each time you look at that quotation, you are meant to be reminded to be aware. Or literally write on the post it’s: ‘remember to be aware’, or ‘what are you thinking?’, or ‘what are you feeling?’.
- Take a mindfulness walk every day (for an explanation see A Daily 15-Minute Relaxation) which will quickly begin to change some of the neural pathways in your pre-frontal cortex that will help you remain conscious and aware. Being mindful literally means being present, being in the moment, and the only way you can be present and in the moment is by being aware.
- Make a habit of seeing beauty in your surroundings: the beauty in nature, the beauty in elements of your home, etc. Deliberately and consciously use this whenever you are feeling anything negative. Focus on the thing of beauty, feel gratitude for its presence in your life at that moment, and notice a slight shift in your inner state, even if only for a moment. That slight shift came, because for a moment you were focused on the present, on the now, as opposed to stress, worry, or pain about your past or future. Doing this on a regular basis, as often as you can, will also help change those neural pathways discussed in the last point, in order to help you remain aware and conscious.
Remember to remember. It’s up to you. As everything else, it’s a choice.