Your consciousness is everything. It is coloring the way you view the world every second of your day. Consciousness can be described as the awareness you have that you are living, breathing, thinking and living, but it is more than this – it is also the subconscious and super conscious aspects of ourselves – the parts of us that know what we don’t (think we) know.
To elevate your consciousness there are 5 things you can do right now:
1- Meditate. The benefits are undeniable. Meditation gets us out of our “normal” state of consciousness – or the beta brainwave state. It also lowers cortisol and adrenaline levels and increases happy hormones like GABA, oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine, melatonin, endorphins, and DHEA. If you want “altered” consciousness, sit and calmly observe your thoughts or say a mantra for twenty minutes a day. Not only will your physical health improve, but you’ll start to experience the world in a completely different way. [i]
2- Spend time in nature. The colors and sounds of nature naturally reduce cortisol levels, and alter our brainwave state so that we experience an elevated, calm state of consciousness. Any green space will help to shift you out of your critical, logical brain and into one that sees novel approaches to challenges. [ii]
3- Breathe differently. Altering your breathe can have a direct impact on your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Deep breathing also lowers cortisol and shifts your mind into acceptance instead of avoidance. You can also practice box breathing, a technique that even Navy Seals employ to stay calm under tremendous amounts of pressure. Simply breathe in, hold the breath for a count of three, then exhale and hold at the bottom for a count of three – making a “box” with your breathing pattern. [iii]
4- Read insightful books. There is perhaps no better way to alter our consciousness than through an enlightened spiritual book, like Johanna Bassols, How to Break Identification with Emotional Trauma in Ten Days, or Eckart Tolle’s The Power of Now. Even books on gardening or doing or taxes can be “enlightening” too. Try to read instead of spending time on social media and see how your mind and life blossom. Unlearning bad mental habits can truly alter your world.
5- Travel. Shaking up your regular routine, even if you can’t hop on the next flight to Paris or Mumbai and can only get to the next town can truly alter your perspective. Our brains naturally crave both stability in the form of routine, but also novelty. Change your physical environment and enjoy feeling refreshed mentally, enlivened creatively, and positively altered in a number of surprising ways. If you can’t physically travel, use your imagination. Where do you want to go today? [iv]
[i] 7 Key Meditation Chemicals: Melatonin, Serotonin, GABA, DHEA, Endorphins. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://eocinstitute.org/meditation/dhea_gaba_cortisol_hgh_melatonin_serotonin_endorphins/
[ii] Oh, B., Lee, K. J., Zaslawski, C., Yeung, A., Rosenthal, D., Larkey, L., & Back, M. (2017). Health and well-being benefits of spending time in forests: systematic review. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, 22(1). doi:10.1186/s12199-017-0677-9
[iii] Riabchuk, V. V. (2009). Seals (Combat and Physical Training of U.S. Navy Seals Swimmers). SSRN Electronic Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2330543
[iv] Miles, L. K., Karpinska, K., Lumsden, J., & Macrae, C. N. (2010). The Meandering Mind: Vection and Mental Time Travel. PLoS ONE, 5(5), e10825. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010825