How strong is your consciousness muscle?

I am continually in awe of the power of the mind.  Being a fascinated observer of human behavior, I have watched countless individuals react differently to the same set of circumstances or events.  For example, two individuals going through a very tough situation – one sees it as an insurmountable problem and shuts down; while the other, acknowledging that it is an unpleasant situation, chooses to see it as an opportunity.  The motivation created through seeing the situation as an opportunity catapulted the individual to success, while the other person has been stuck in the same place for years.

We all innately “know” how powerful our chosen mindset can be don’t we? So why do we put ourselves through so much additional pain and frustration? Why do we make it much harder than it really is? I think the answer comes down to something quite simple – we are too busy living in the subconscious part of our minds, on automatic pilot, reacting rather than responding. A simple solution, although certainly not an easy fix, is to spend more time in the conscious part of the mind.  It takes energy and focus to stay conscious, and if we’re feeling tired, ill, or not at our optimum level of health, it makes it that much harder.

In the last couple of years, I’ve been focusing on how I can remain more conscious without completely wearing myself out. It’s been quite a journey! I’m realizing that when I’m in the presence of others, especially when I need to interact with them, I am very intentional about being in my conscious mind so I can respond, rather than react. Once I am able to be alone again, I can retreat back into automatic pilot to recharge. As I work on this “consciousness muscle,” I find it getting stronger, and I need less time to recharge.

How often are you making life harder on yourself? How can you build your “consciousness muscle” to help you view your life and interactions differently?