What is Being on Auto-Pilot?
Have you ever driven home and then had the weird feeling of “how did I get here”?
In our cars, we can sometimes drive for miles "on autopilot," without really being aware of what we are doing.
In the same way, we may not be really "present" moment-by-moment, for much of our lives: We can often be "miles away" without knowing it.
On autopilot, we are more likely to have our "buttons pressed". Things and happenings in our world... thoughts... feelings... that can trigger old habits of thinking, that are often unhelpful, and may lead to frustration or a bad mood.
By becoming more aware of our thoughts and feelings from each moment to moment, we give ourselves the possibility of greater freedom and choice; we do not have to go into the same old "mental ruts" that may have caused us problems in the past.
The aim of our mindfulness practice is to increase awareness so that we can respond to situations with choice rather than react automatically. We can do that by practicing to become more aware of where our attention is, and deliberately changing the focus of attention, over and over again
Getting Off Of Auto-Pilot
This activity is designed to bring mindfulness easily into your everyday life.
Choose one activity each day that you often do in autopilot. Activities like brushing your teeth, eating, showering, or preparing for bed.
It is probably a good idea to stick with one activity for at least a week rather than changing the activity daily.
When the time comes for that activity, do it in a fully mindful frame of mind. Pay attention to the activity, ask “what is happening right now”? With teeth brushing you might feel the feel of the brush on each tooth, hear the noise it is making.
Be aware of the taste of the toothpaste... if you find yourself thinking of other things then notice it for a second or two and return to the sensations you are having with brushing your teeth.
If the activity is likely to be a bit longer than a few minutes like... eating a meal... walking in the park then practice the first two minutes mindfully. Pay attention to what you see, the sounds you hear, the feeling of your clothes as you walk. What can you smell?
As an achievable starting goal, stick to the sensations present at the time, touch, sight, sound, taste, smell then you can move on to what emotions and bodily feelings you have such as breathing faster or muscle tension.
For more mindfulness tips and tricks, as well a totally free meditation, journaling and yoga practices, sign up for my Mindful Monday weekly newsletter
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Peace & hugs