Many people travel through life in a haze with their autopilot on. They end up doing the same things, thinking the same, reacting the same as they had done in previous situations. Before they know it life has flown by. They reach retirement and wonder where their life has gone. This is what you call being on autopilot – while you may be physically present in what you do, you are not thinking consciously about what you are doing.
Autopilot makes life simple, you don’t have to think too hard about what you need to do. However, as simple as autopilot makes daily interactions, it also limits your quality of life to what makes you happy and fulfilled.
First, you tend to spend half your life on autopilot where you are not in full control. Your thoughts have so much free time that you spend many hours thinking about the past or planning future events. Your thoughts turn negative increasing anxiety or you spend today thinking about your to do list for tomorrow. In fact, you end up thinking away your life away or getting caught up in surviving just to get through a day. As a result, you end up thinking where has time gone.
Second, when on autopilot you end up doing what is familiar and comfortable, taking the same same path you have always taken. You repeat eat old habits, rituals and patterns which may have served well in the past but now are no longer of value for you now. As a result, you end up experiencing the same problems over and over while resorting to the same techniques which keep you the past unable to move forward in life.
Lastly, you get caught up in your own emotions and feelings to the point that your brain reacts without thinking. Those reactions may have served well in the past but in the present they prevent you from thinking constructively and responding in a way that serves the present you..
How to minimise your autopilot?
Autopilot has the power to take away control from your life, while mindfulness has the power to return it. When you practise mindfulness you can re-program your brain to recognise when you act on autopilot and to program healthy habits and behaviours so that you live in the present to make better choices to be the best person you can be.
Mindfulness allows you to take control of your life and turn off the autopilot so you can live your best life possible. Mindfulness allows you to become aware of your mind and body to recognise when you return to autopilot .
Interrupting autopilot using mindfulness helps the mind be fully engaged in the present moment. When you have feelings, emotions and thoughts appear; instead of blocking them you observe and acknowledge them in a non-judgemental way and let them float away slowly.
Imagine that your thoughts are Ike clouds. When one appears in your mind, simply notice it, be aware of it, then watch it float away across the sky.
When you choose how to respond, it means you act with awareness.
Simple ways to practise mindfulness each day
❤️. Go for a walk – as we discussed in a previous post, mindful meditation allows you to reconnect with yourself when sitting meditation is not for you. Allow your thoughts to focus on the environment around you as you walk and just be present.
❤️. Detox from digital means – phones, laptops and other devices create unnecessary distractions where you feel obligated to be connected at all times. Unplug from technology daily and spend that time doing something that you enjoy and find relaxing.
❤️. Do something you keep putting off – stop procrastinating and move that task to the top of your list and just get it done. Mentally you will feel much better and less stressed.
❤️. Create a mindful break – between tasks allow yourself to observe those random thoughts which pop into your head. Don’t try and analyse the meaning, simply be aware then let them go. Take advantage of the silent spaces between your thoughts to let your mind rest and be present.