Every situation has a silver lining – discover a mindset that heals and enlightens.

September 23, 2021 · 7 min read

critical thinking
Happiness is a matter of one's most ordinary and everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self. - Iris Murdoch

“What do you mean become critically conscious? I’ve been very conscious for all my life!”


Being critically conscious means not only thinking about a thing in detail, but also executing it.


The truth pill is, that a lot of us are not as conscious as we think to be. People tend to overrate themselves and fall into a cycle of the same thoughts that occur every single day. Let’s do a small test and try to answer to these questions:

  • Do you remember what you’ve eaten two days before for dinner?
  • Is your work or school like one blur, or can you actually tell details what happened?
  • How many times per month do you surprise your significant other?
  • Do you track your daily goals and try to beat them the next time?
  • Do you take your time to enjoy your leisure time by paying attention to smaller details?


With all honesty, we tend to lose track of our past events and we live on autopilot. Life becomes dull and grey. We don’t think much about the present, nor we do about the future.


Do you have at least 1 big goal and a detailed plan to achieve it within a year? Do you only think about that goal, or do you for real hop into action and take your destiny into your own hands?

What is critical consciousness?

Critical consciousness is a state of mind which allows a person to perceive contradicting and different perceptions of life compared to this person’s stereotypes and beliefs. In other words, this state of minds allows people to see world differently than they are used to.


There are two types of levels of consciousness:


  • Low awareness of consciousness – a state of mind which limits a person to perceive more insightful things that is happening around him. For example, you are trekking in the mountains, but you don’t stop and look around you to view the beauty of the nature. Instead, you are too focused on making the right steps and not to get injured.


To be honest, this has happened in my experience, when I was doing a mountain hiking trip with a friend. When I asked him: “Did you see these beautiful carvings in the mountain?” he replied with “No”. There were many other questions that went after that one, but he kept on replying he didn’t notice anything.

critical consciousness
  • High awareness of consciousness – a state of mind that is open for changes and new perspectives in life. Such person is not only highly self-aware, but also aware about the environment. It allows person to analyze the situation with higher detail than under normal conditions. For example, that person notices the details in a machinery, face details of a person, body language and facial expressions, etc.

Why is critical consciousness important?

Critical consciousness is important due to opportunity for a person to improve himself mentally and physically and become more insightful in situations of life that happen daily. It’s the foundation of emotional intelligence which allows to identify and control your emotions as well as understand other people’s emotions.


Critical consciousness can create a lot of value and more comprehension for a person in these areas:

  • Business
  • Politics
  • Relationships
  • Inequity of people
  • Spiritual world
  • Mental and physical health


The list can be almost never ending.


The point is that critical consciousness can be involved in every aspect of our life. It comes to fundamentals whether you have high level consciousness (critical consciousness) or low level of consciousness.

10 Signs you don’t possess critical consciousness

Intelligence is the ability to solve problems, and consciousness is the ability to feel things and have subjective experiences. - Yuval Noah Harari
  1. You think that you are insignificant and can’t make an impact
  2. You become defensive when you get critical feedback
  3. You fall into a cycle of negative emotional patterns
  4. You keep self-sabotaging yourself constantly with unhealthy habits
  5. You regret your decisions regularly
  6. You can’t admit that you don’t know some things
  7. You keep to your stereotypes and beliefs
  8. You dedicate too much time on short-term happiness
  9. You only notice negativities and criticize everyone
  10. You constantly make excuses for your failures

10 ways to adopt critical consciousness

1. Spend more time outside

Our modern lifestyle often leads us to being attached to chairs and laptops. Even people that work outdoors, they still fall into the routine of habits. It’s almost inevitable at our work.


Therefore, it would be a great practice to spend more time outside doing what you love and simply paying more attention to it. Getting a fresh breath of air, walking in a park, connecting with people is something that everyone should do in order to regain consciousness and become more aware of beauty of life.


Also, asking questions is a crucial part of acquiring critical consciousness. For example, if you sit on a bench outside, try to think what kind of wood was used to make it. Or, you can also raise questions like: “How long will this paint last on this bench? What is that tree that’s nearby me? How much money does it take to make such bench?”

critical consciousness

To take one further step, when you are in the nature, you can ask a question like: “How did everything begin from just nature resources? How did humans create things that we have now: buildings, electronics, various food, etc.?”


Nature is a part of people’s natural calmness resort, consciousness and focus. It’s a place for everyone to find peace and inspiration.


Observing your environment can help you understand it better and awaken your critical consciousness within yourself. You’ll be able to easier connect with the outer world and with yourself.

2. Meditation

Some of the simplest things are often neglected. Re-inventing wheel is not necessary, it’s all about improving our current methodologies and applying it to our life.


According to a study, meditation can be a tool to improve level of consciousness and solve problems better.

Meditation can help us to improve in these areas of life:


  • Physical and mental health
  • Consciousness
  • Mindfulness
  • Spiritual and self-awareness
Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values. - Ayn Rand

Meditation allows us to focus on awareness and concentration. If you have never practiced meditation, chances are that you are detached from your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Meditation can help you not only to rediscover yourself, but also reduce depression, anxiety, stress levels.


Therefore, the first step to practice meditation correctly is to find yourself a quiet and stress-free place in your home. Here is a practical Sudarshan Kriya yoga video which is one of the most popular meditation forms.

Practicing it daily or a few times a week can greatly help you both mentally and physically. If you’ll stay mindful during meditation, you should be able to see some positive results in your improved mood and consciousness.

3. Embrace fears and challenges

Naturally, our brains require new goals.


If you keep on cycling through the same track every day, you lose sense of excitement and it becomes a habit. It doesn’t stimulate your brains to think and experience new senses.


In a contrast, if you cycle through a different path, especially the one that’s steeper and requires more energy and awareness, you’ll feel empowered when you’ll accomplish your goal.


Embracing fears and challenges help your brains to work more efficiently due to serotonin. You’ll feel more conscious about the environment and your ability to cope with a challenge.  


One of my friends have told me a story how he has encountered a flash flood in mountains. The weather forecast has predicted for a heavy rain only the other day, but it happened that it occurred on that day they were camping. It was late summer, about 2 AM when he was awakened by his girlfriend in a camp that they have set in.

critical consciousness

The rain and thunder were extremely heavy and for the first time in his life he was worried how to actually make this night through. Visibility was almost non-existent, they had about only a few meters of visibility. First, they tried to seek for a cave or any shelter that they could hide in. However, they couldn’t find one even after an hour of searching. Thoughts like hypothermia and not being prepared enough for such situation went through his mind.


He became very conscious of environment and of the outcomes that could happen if they won’t find a solution to this problem. They tried even following a “river”. They expected that it would lead to a village or something similar like that. Only then they realized that it’s a flash flood (a result of a heavy rain) and how dangerous it is.


Luckily, they googled and they found out that there was about 1.5km distance from a public shelter. In about an hour of careful trekking down the mountain, they managed to find that place. There already were about 10 people which were scared for their life. However, everything went well and they managed to survive that nightmare.

Conflict is the beginning of consciousness. - M. Esther Harding

This story illustrates that getting in scary situations make people think fast and with a lot of critical thinking. Definitely, I don’t recommend experiencing anything similar like that. This is an extreme scenario that can end not well.


Instead, you should face fears, such as public speaking, going to the gym for the first time, approaching other people, and similar. These challenges will make you think in a different way and can open you a whole different perspective about life.


Challenges are the engine that led people to develop their outer and inner world for centuries. In fact, that’s how we got here in 21st century with all this technology and insightfulness about life.

4. Observe other people

This may sound weird and a little uncomfortable. However, watching other people can inspire us due to a lot of factors. It can strike a chain of questions and a spark of consciousness:


  • Why does that person wear a suit?
  • What’s the emotional state of that person: stressed, happy, sad?
  • Why is he here currently?
  • What else can I conclude about him?


Observing other people can give us a sense on how they feel and what’s their current emotional situation like. It can also partially tell their characteristics and perhaps their lifestyle.

critical consciousness

The more people we analyze, the better idea we can get how is life like in that current area and whether we want to be like them or not. We should always be inspired of happy and successful people.


Body language is one of the most important perceptions and first impressions that a person can have about the other person.


Observing other people provides us with a sense of consciousness about social aspects, like relationships and the quality of life other people live.  

5. Be mindful of your health

Every person that has a critical thinking knows that health is the number one priority in a person’s life. Health is one of the most invaluable things that every person has and should nurture.


Learning how to treat your body can help you approach life in a different way. For example, cutting out sugary drinks, processed foods, might inspire some people even to become vegetarians or vegans. When we dig more into health aspects, we can find a lot of valuable information and we become more conscious of our eating habits.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. - Winston Churchill

Once a person becomes conscious about healthy eating, then he might be making smarter decisions in a restaurant: instead of ordering fries as a garnish, now he might order rice, quinoa, or lentils. It sparks a lot of questions in your mind whether it’s worth choosing that dish or not.


Once a person starts incorporating more physical activities, he might be interested in things that he would’ve never thought of. For example, if he enjoyed passive vacation, now he might enjoy a mix of passive and active or just active vacation.


The point is, that taking care of your health is not only beneficial for your health, but also for your different perspective about the world.

6. Read more and ask questions

I admit, I am a person that often just reads passively. However, I am trying to break this habit and also ask more questions when reading an article.


Instead, we should not only read, but also question why such thing happened or why it’s necessary. For example, if it happens that you read that “Coffee grounds are one of the best natural fertilizers”, then start asking yourself questions:


  • Why is this fertilizer considered as one of the best ones?
  • How widely applicable is this fertilizer (for what plants)?
  • Why would I need a fertilizer in the first place?
  • Are natural fertilizers better than manufactured ones?
critical consciousness

Questioning yourself about opinions can often contradict it if you dig deeper. It can also happen that you’ll find more information that’s missing and which is crucial for you to know.

7. Stop what you are doing

We often fall into a routine and start mindlessly doing things without even giving a further thought about them.


If you are reading this line, then after you finish reading this 7th tip, briefly stop and start thinking critically. Again, apply the questions methodology:


  • Why am I doing this activity that I do now?
  • Is there a more effective way to accomplish this activity or a goal that I’m trying to achieve?
  • Do I find this helpful and useful, or am I just doing it for “the sake of doing it”?
Consciousness allows you the capacity to plan. - Gerald Edelman

What I mean is, that you should always try to validate if something you do is necessary or whether it brings you joy.


If it doesn’t, you have to make changes and pivot the situation in one or another way to improve it.

8. Accept changes and take responsibility

This is by far the most important tip that I can give you. If you are a conservative person, consider changing your views and accepting changes.


If you’ll ignore your personal development and changes around you, you’ll never be able to correctly apply critical consciousness.  


It’s easy to fall into socially accepted stereotypes and your own beliefs that have been built up over the past years or even decades. The reality is, that as years pass by, a lot of things change. For example, if it was widely accepted that granola and yoghurt was a healthy breakfast in the past, that’s not the case anymore.

critically thinking

As science progresses, some of the old-believed truths are written off and new beliefs are stated and implemented into practical situations.


In addition, a lot of people tend to not to take responsibility for their faults. Some people try to avoid and take the blame on someone else’s shoulders. This approach is especially unhealthy for your mind and mental health.


Therefore, you must understand that learning to listen to someone and analyzing it critically, changing your beliefs, taking responsibility for your actions, is an inseparable element for self-growth.

9. Travel

Travelling can single handedly change your consciousness in a positive way.


You don’t even have to try much to be conscious about the environment when travelling. If you travel 3000km away from your homeland, chances are that you might experience cultural shock.


Seeing other people, infrastructure, cultural habits, will broaden your view about the world. You might start questioning yourself as “Why do people behave here differently than in my homeland?”, “What led these people live their lifestyle like this?”

Where you are in consciousness has everything to do with what you see in experience. - Eric Butterworth

I’ve experienced such cultural shock in Thailand. The lifestyle there is far different than in western world. People looked happier, more open, communicative and the overall food culture and lifestyle was totally different. I was pleasantly surprised and that enrichened my cultural experience a lot.


If you are very aware while travelling, that’s even better for your consciousness development. However, it’s pretty natural that we are aware of a lot of different things when travelling without even trying much.

10. Get in sync with your feelings

If you are a person that tends to hold feelings within yourself and not to analyze it, it can be a little difficult.


By analyzing your feelings, you can have a better understanding about:


  • What you like and makes you happy
  • What makes you upset
  • If you are a sensitive person
  • What has to be improved

Often people lack knowledge of emotional vocabulary. The few feelings and emotions they know is happy, angry, upset, depressed and maybe a few others. However, there are a lot of other words that can describe your emotional state. Here is a table that can help you to get started:

Often people lack knowledge of emotional vocabulary. The few feelings and emotions they know is happy, angry, upset, depressed and maybe a few others. However, there are a lot of other words that can describe your emotional state. Here is a table that can help you to get started:

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Therefore, learn to recognize the feelings. Perhaps you are just irritated and not angry. Perhaps you are not depressed, only a little upset. Perhaps you are not happy, but you are overwhelmed and excited.


Learning how to identify your emotions can help you understand yourself better and become more in sync with your feelings.

Final Words From Delightful Mindset

Remember that you already are a conscious person because you chose to read this article. This means that you are self-aware and want to improve yourself.


Critical consciousness has to be developed in two steps: by analyzing the situation and applying the thoughts (if possible).


However, the most important thing to do is just to start. Slow steps are the most guaranteed way to success. Therefore, I suggest you challenging yourself and becoming a critical conscious person.