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Living on Autopilot: How Not To

Have you ever driven somewhere and have no recollection of how you got there? It is terrifying to think of living one’s entire life this way. Living your life on autopilot leads to an inability to establish connection with others, loneliness, apathy, and a feeling that your life lacks purpose and meaning. Here are some simple tips to try everyday to get out of autopilot and be more open to what each moment has to offer.

  1. Make eye contact. With family, with friends, with the stranger who holds the door for you and the person at the cash register. Get off your phone. Make eye contact. Even better, say hello or give a compliment in addition to making eye contact.

  2. Mix up your routine. Drink your coffee after you shower instead of before. Brush your teeth with your left hand if you are right handed. Drive to work taking a different route. Call a friend mid day whom you haven’t spoken to in a while. Try a new restaurant or hiking trail. Mix it up.

  3. Get out of your head. The biggest reason we are not experiencing our lives is because we are in our heads all the time. Planning the future. Reviewing something that happened in the past. I am usually most guilty of this in the shower. It seems no matter what my day is like, the second I get in the shower I have a running “to do” list in my head and new things to add consistently pop in. That is a quick way to take you out of the present moment. If you catch yourself living in your head, shift your focus to your body and your senses. Feel your feet on the floor, notice the temperature of the air in the room, notice your breathing while you practice slowing it down, and if your in the shower, complete focus on the water running down your body or hitting your forehead can induce a trance like state of calm.

  4. Turn off your phone or take a break from social media, app games, or anything that passes the time and is mindless.

  5. Go on a treasure hunt for gratitude. If you find that you can’t remember the last few minutes, or your ruminating about something in your head, you can choose instead to embark on a hunt for all that you are grateful for in your immediate surroundings. This not only gets you present to the moment, but it also has the secondary benefit of lifting your mood. You can fine gratitude anywhere and everywhere. Even if you’re in an office cubicle you can appreciate the beautiful color of the vase on your coworkers desk, that you have a window view outside, that your head cold has finally healed and your body feels healthy today etc.

If you feel you are living on autopilot too often and would like help experiencing your life in a more profound way, contact me for more information at:

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