Break out of Autopilot
29 Mar 2017
Most of us will have described a scenario where we considered ourselves to be on ‘autopilot’, for example we may have arrived at work, whether by car or bus, but had no real sense of the journey! Oftentimes that sensation is created out of habit, when we have done something over and over, that we literally do it automatically. But in the case of driving, it can be a scary feeling to realise that you carried out a journey whilst not in a ‘mindful state’.
On the whole autopilot mode is very useful in our everyday lives; it enables us to get up, to go through a routine of washing, dressing, eating breakfast etc. without having to pay too much attention to the activities. This enables us to multi-task and to free our minds to things that do require our conscious attention.
But there is a negative side to autopilot and that is in regards to things that have happened to us in the past. If we are faced with a similar situation in the future, we are likely to go into autopilot mode and react the same way as before. In reality we do not need to be hurt in the future just because we have been hurt in a similar situation in the past (in a relationship for example), but we do need to look at the situation in a conscious and mindful way, rather than an in an automatic way.
If you feel like you are in a situation and you are not moving on with your life – not moving forward; then try applying a more engaged style to your thoughts and decisions:
The Auto Mode The Conscious Mode
Reacting out of habit Respond with awareness
Re-live the past Live in the present
Ignore reality Accept reality
Miss important details Notice important details
Recreate patterns of behaviour Take a new approach
Feeling like your choices are limited Knowing that you have many choices
Recreating past emotions Have fresh and new emotions
Neglecting your potential Realising your full potential
Not enjoying life to the full Maximising all of life’s pleasures
- With practise hopefully you will find that autopilot-thinking disperses when mindfulness takes over.
Ref: Practical Mindfulness, Ken A.VerniTweet
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