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Life on Autopilot

Published on: 14/03/18


Life on Autopilot

What is the definition of being on autopilot? It’s the act of doing something without thinking about it or without making an effort.

Have you ever driven home from work without any recollection of the journey? Us human-beings have the ability to operate our minds on autopilot, the feeling of being distracted or only partially aware of what is going on around us whilst doing an everyday task.

When you do something without realising what you are doing it can often result in a mistake. This can occur in the workplace, at home, whilst driving or doing mundane chores like food shopping. The ability of going onto autopilot is usually because you have done the same task several times before therefore not needing to think about what you are doing in that moment. For instance when food shopping we often walk up and down the aisles picking up the same products. When you unpack at home you realise you have multiple cans of baked beans in the cupboards which is a waste of money and your time whilst shopping. Or at work when you are in a meeting and only half paying attention to what a colleague is discussing, this can lead to misunderstandings.

It can be the simplest of tasks like walking home without thinking about where you are going but in those moments you will be missing out on taking in the sights of how green the trees are, what flowers are budding, how the birds are singing and generally being in the moment.

I often notice when teaching my Pilates classes that participants sometimes switch on autopilot mode and pre-empt the next instruction. I would describe Pilates as a mind and body form of exercise, for that reason it is highly important to turn off autopilot mode during your class enabling you to immerse yourself in the lesson. No more thinking about what you are going to cook for dinner or fret about that deadline at work. If your body is just going through the motions without engaging your mind fully it could result in misunderstanding the exercise or injuring yourself. It is my job to notice the signs of a person going onto autopilot and ensuring that they reconnect their mind and body, this may be through verbal cues or being hands on to reinforce their understanding of which muscle to engage or position to be in during the exercise.

Signs that you have switched on autopilot mode:

  • You mind has gone blank
  • Your mind is fully of ‘stuff’
  • You find yourself only half listening
  • You manage to complete a task without giving it your full attention
  • You thinking negatively
  • You feel that life is passing you by

It is time to switch OFF autopilot and reconnect with the world. Allow yourself to become more productive and improve your awareness. Become attentive with others around you, improving your relationships with your family, friends and work colleagues. Notice how your experiences are enhanced from being in the moment, appreciating the beautiful moments in life.

By being mindful of being in the moment you will find that you’ll use your time more effectively and efficiently.

Tips

  • Practice being mindful
  • Meditation
  • Make notes on what you are grateful for
  • Think positively
  • Focus on your breath
  • Increase your awareness – take a moment to notice what is going on around you
  • Take control of your thoughts
  • Have time out – take 10mins to do nothing

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