How to avoid switching to autopilot on a daily basis
A recent phenomenon has occurred as many of us work from home and relax from home. How do you break up your work week when you don’t go anywhere? How can we avoid just existing, or as I call it switching to autopilot? When so much uncertainty is occurring in the world, it’s easy to just get through the day. To simply go from one responsibility to the next, and no longer feel excited about your dreams or goals.
If I asked you what you remember about the past few days, the answer may be “not very much”. This is because we are just trying to get to the next day. How often do you create your day around what’s easy and comfortable? Routines can help our mental health as our brain knows what to expect. At the same time, too much routine can hold us back. If from the moment we wake up and go through our morning routines we are just operating out of habit instead of intention we are not powerfully living our lives. Instead, we are just surviving or existing.
So how can you make sure you are truly alive, present in your life? First of all, learn to be an observer of yourself. Notice when your thoughts are wandering off. Ever go out to lunch with people and next thing you know a new conversation has started and you hadn’t even realized? Maybe you were thinking of a project you needed to do at work the next day or a fight you had last week. Keep practicing noticing how long your mind wanders for and when it starts to remind yourself of the present moment.
Additionally, when we are young, we learn about the 5 senses; touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight. Yet, the older we get the less we use more than 1 or 2 at a time. Imagine, you are doing the dishes. You can just do the dishes in a robotic fashion or you can choose to be completely present. Close your eyes. Imagine the feel of the hot water over your hands, the sound of the faucet and your family joking around nearby, recall the smell and taste of the delicious dinner, and the sight of the dishes drying ready for the next meal. Wouldn’t that be a different experience than the forced, robotic way many of us currently wash dishes?
Where in your life do you see you are on autopilot, simply existing? Try applying the 5 senses and see how your world changes.