“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment,” said Buddha. That is precisely what mindfulness is all about ‒being present, and in the moment. However, according to recent research, people spend up to 50 percent of their time caught up in their thoughts. The reason for that is primarily the fact that we live a fast-paced busy life, which enables us to mindlessly rush through the day. This is why it’s crucial for all of us to learn how to switch from autopilot to fully present and stop living a life filled with trance-like actions. Only then will we be able to engage with the present moment and finally have peace of mind.
Mindfulness: The Ultimate Cure for Autopilot
Breathing is an automatic action we perform, completely unaware of doing it. However, controlled breathing is one of the most important techniques in mindfulness practices, because it helps us focus on the present moment. It would be great if you could find some time every day to practice mindful breathing to relieve stress and switch off the autopilot.
While it may seem like a challenge, mindful breathing requires only a quiet place and a few minutes of your time when you’ll focus all of your attention and thoughts only on your breathing.
Put all distractions aside
Preventing distractions or at least minimizing them as much as possible may seem like an impossible thing to do, but it is nevertheless crucial for mindfulness. While multitasking is a great advantage for your career and will allow you to finish all your errands more quickly, it will wreak havoc on your mental health. Therefore, it’s vital that you become fully engaged physically, emotionally and cognitively by setting boundaries.
Smartphones, various other gadgets, and technology, in general, are the biggest distractions in our life, so cut down on the time you use them. If you’re going to spend the afternoon with your family, turn off your phone, or put it on silent and in your bag to avoid seeing all the distracting notifications. You can’t possibly catch up on your cousin’s trip story if you are texting your best friend at the same time. Not only is it rude, but it will put a lot of burden on your brain as you’ll try to multitask, making you unaware of half of the interactions in return.
Write in a diary
Planning is the key to a successful life because it’ll allow you to be more organized and make your life less hectic. Moreover, writing down your thoughts, plans, or even dreams can help you set goals and raise your awareness as you interact with the world. Therefore, make sure you are fully equipped with handy little diaries, sticky notes and all the other necessary supplies that will make keeping a journal fun and helpful.
Change the way you look at your life
Perspective is everything, so it’s crucial that you change your point of view if you keep zoning out of the present moment. Seeing your job as a chore will most likely make your day at the office unbearable, and cause your mind to wander most of the time. Switching the autopilot on will decrease your productivity and maybe even get you fired. Your job should make you feel accomplished, and going to the office is supposed to be one of the best parts of your day. If that’s not the case, and just the mere thought of another working day causes a headache, it’s time you look for a new job, to which you can fully commit and dedicate all your attention to that profession.
Choose your company wisely
Our friends are the family we get to pick out on our own, so it’s important that we make a wise choice in order to live a happy and content life. If you’ve noticed that every time you get together with some of your friends, your mind wanders around and you can’t remember the half of your conversation, you’re in the wrong company. Reaching out for your phone, and looking forward to texting or scrolling through social media, more than to listening to what your friend has to say is a clear sign that you need a break from that person because they prevent you from being mindful.
Spend your time only with people who will bring out your best qualities and make you forget about all the distractions, helping you live in the present moment.
Mindfulness is the first step to a happy life. Therefore, if you’ve been feeling like your life is passing you by, and that you’ve been doing everything automatically and without putting your mind into it, it means you’re running on autopilot and it’s time you switch it off. Follow the previously mentioned steps, and start living in the moment instead of drifting through your life in a daze.