Stephanie Dickson – Useful insights from a Conscious-preneur
The intention behind why we do what we do, is central to conscious living. Conscious thinking allows us to make choices that are aligned with our personal values – so that we come to know, understand and ultimately, be mindful of our actions. Stephanie Dickson, Founder of Green is the New Black, shares her perspective on this matter in the interview below.
PAUSE: What is conscious living?
STEPHANIE DICKSON: Conscious living is about taking control of your life; really being aware of your thoughts & decisions, how they impact you, your surroundings and the environment. It’s about making conscious choices rather than living on autopilot so that you can have the life that you want rather than settling for what you’ve got. It’s about ‘living wide awake’ and taking pride in your actions to help create a better world.
It’s everything from your internal world and mindset to your external world and looking at the impact you are making. It is aligned with being mindful but more than that, it is to stop ‘autopilot’ thought patterns and actually break habitual thinking to draw yourself into the present moment and consciously choose how you want to act or react.
PAUSE: How do you live consciously?
STEPHANIE DICKSON: I start with my non-negotiable morning routine: setting myself up right in the morning has a lasting impact on your whole day. I start with gratitude journaling, positive affirmations and some mirror work (saying I love you to yourself in the morning in the mirror is a game changer! Not only does it make you laugh as it feels quite unnatural, but it is a loving self-act to start the morning off nicely). When I can I also break a sweat in.
It is important to me to think about what I'm putting in my body, but also what I’m putting on my body. So Breakfast time we make delicious veggie & fruit smoothies - but we always clean the ingredients with GTL No.9 all-purpose green formula to remove any pesticides.
It’s amazing the smell that comes off grapes! Shower time I use (and am transitioning over) to all organic or real ingredient cosmetics, soaps and shampoos, my faves are Luxe Botanics, Ayelli and Lush. Better for me and the environment.
Clothes is a big one, I radically curbed my shopping habit and now enjoy waiting to buy from a brand I know is making real efforts to reduce their footprint and be ethical. Two of my favourites at the moment are locally Matter Prints and internationally Reformation.
On the way to work, I listen to inspiring podcasts to get my head in the right space. Tony Robins and Hal Elrod are my favorites - great life and business mindset stuff every week. I’ve always been quite a hot head, so this year I have been working on learning how to communicate better and working on my patience to be a better team player and leader.
At the end of the day, most nights, my boyfriend and I have some phone free time where we catch up on each other’s days without constantly checking into the digital world. This is something that I had to make a conscious effort to do, as the phone sometimes feels like an extension of your arm ! Guilty as charged.
PAUSE: Conscious living is merely a concept if one doesn’t take action. Why is it that our actions are driven largely by our unconscious mind?
STEPHANIE DICKSON: I love that you say that, because 'action' is actually one of our '3 wedges' (as we call them). Our brains love patterns and habits and they are years in the making. Our actions are largely driven by our unconscious minds because we’ve always done it that way - it is like being on autopilot. If the majority of your decisions are made unconsciously, it means you are not consciously choosing - you are not present and in the moment when deciding.
That is why is it so important to live in the present (something that I struggle with on a daily basis - but it’s a work in progress!) and constantly break free of negative patterns / limiting beliefs. Curiosity and questioning is a great place to start. Start being aware of how you are feeling, question why you are thinking this way, and have the curiosity to explore a new thought or action instead.
PAUSE: If conscious living empowers you with awareness, why is being aware so difficult?
STEPHANIE DICKSON: I would be inclined to say that awareness empowers you to live consciously. Being aware is a difficult first step because it actually requires you to stop, look around and think about what you are doing, why you are doing it and what you want to do instead. In our fast paced world, with constant notifications, we get addicted to instant gratification and get ‘trapped in the pattern’ of always reaching for our phones.
For example, when you take a moment to realise that you don’t need to look at your phone 30 seconds after you just looked and if you can break that habit to have a purposeful phone free break, you will realise how freeing it is. But you first need to have the awareness or make the conscious choice you don’t want to be addicted to your phone.One of the issues in Singapore is the yearly bout of haze that we get from the burning of the palm oil farms in Indonesia. When it happens everyone complains - but how many people actually take the time to find out which brands are responsible and understanding that the power starts with our wallets? There is power in numbers and every little bit counts.
PAUSE: What are some ways conscious living can improve one's daily life?
STEPHANIE DICKSON: Living consciously improves your mental health, makes your stronger, makes you happier and really helps to tap into that inner zen or peace. It can give you this sense of empowerment, knowing that your decisions are improving your world, the world of those around you and also the planet.
Having a positive morning can set you up for the rest of the day. Choosing to use non-toxic products in your home has a long-term effect on your health and the environment you are using in your home. Choosing to be curious about where products come from, who was affected along the way and where you want to ‘vote’ with your wallet - can put pressure on companies to operate in a better way and also look after the people along the way.
PAUSE: To embark on a conscious living journey, what is the first step one can take?
STEPHANIE DICKSON: There are so many things you can do, but the first one is to just pick one area of your life that you would like to live more consciously and start there. Once you have that down pat, you can do something on top of that and so it goes on. The great thing about our mind is that it always wants more, so once you start on the conscious path, like most things, it gets addictive! In all the good ways of course.
A few good places to start:
- Being present – ground yourself in stressful moments with 10 deep breaths and think about something you are grateful for
- Mindset – try meditating or introducing a morning 'gratitude practice'
- Home – phase in green products into your home and recycle
- Skin – next time you need to replace a product, try green beauty!
PAUSE is proud to be the official wellness partner for Green Is The New Black - The Conscious Festival.