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Turn Off Your Autopilot


Did you know that adults make around 35,000 decisions in a day? Thanks to our unconscious decision-making abilities, the task of taking these decisions happens automatically and subconsciously. Whenever it can, the brain kicks into this automatic decision-making mode to save energy, freeing up the conscious mind for other tasks. When a behavior becomes over-learned, and practiced multiple times, you can perform it with little or no thought. Driving and walking are classic examples of automatic actions. Yes, that autopilot mode is real and pretty good :-)

Unfortunately, when this autopilot mode starts slipping into other areas of your life that need more thought and attention, it comes at an emotional cost—your happiness. Constantly living in an autopilot mode would mean sleepwalking through life’s pivotal moments, making it difficult to make intentional decisions about how you want to work and live your life. Before you know it, you’re living your life by default, not by design. A few signs that you are living on an emotional autopilot: 
*You dread the day ahead *Your daily routine is predictable *You do things without thinking *You can’t seem to put your phone down (even for 5 minutes!) *You stay in deep thoughts *You forget things easily *You can’t seem to let go *You are not making meaningful progress *You feel stuck in your current situation*.

If you feel you are nodding your head in agreement for most of the above, then most likely you are living your life on autopilot. The good news is, you can train your brain to get off this mode, resulting in conscious awareness, something that we would call BEING MINDFUL. Also, it’s not one mode over the other, definitely not. The ideal situation is to train and learn to use the Autopilot & Mindful mode in a balanced way.
How do I practice Being Mindful?
Mindfulness is one of the tools - with strong research supporting its usefulness - for those suffering from anxiety, depression, or even just daily stress.The key to this practice lies in 2 components: 
(a) Awareness - simply catching yourself in autopilot mode when you should be mindful; and training your brain towards awareness. When you are ‘aware’, you are in a position to notice your emotions and anxieties before they start rolling too fast. By noticing these things early, you can be more flexible in your responses.
(b) Acceptance -  An open and accepting attitude allows you to accept the current state, rather than trying to suppress it or making a big deal out of it. When you accept your emotions, you are not struggling with internal conflict, so you have more resources to deal positively with the situation. 
Click here for some easy exercises, to ease into awareness and acceptance in our daily lives.
Mindfulness may not change the things in your life; but it will change your life by helping you notice the things in it with a new perspective.
TubTime supports Mental Health Awareness. Let this month be the start of a mindful journey to live a better life with improved mental health and wellbeing.