How to stop living on autopilot

Most people are living on autopilot, they do their things without thinking. They have the same routine every single day and time passes by quickly. At the same time, those people are thinking about the past or the future. They are never really here in the moment, they are always somewhere else with their thoughts. When that happens, it is time to break free. You probably stopped noticing the beautiful and special moments. 

Someone who lives most of their time in the moment sees more things. They start seeing nature change when a new season starts. But besides noticing things, you will feel happier too. When you are thinking about the past or future, you most likely think about something bad, which makes you feel bad. When you stop that train of thought, you will feel better.

How to stop living on autopilot

Focus on the people around you
One thing that really annoys me is when people are constantly checking their phones while they are spending time with their family or friends. And even when you try to talk to them, they don’t look up and don’t really listen. I always stop talking when people do this to me and sometimes they don’t even realize I stopped talking or that I am just saying random words to see if they pay attention. Don’t be like this person who prefers to look on their phone instead of having a real conversation. It is also very good for your relationship with this person. Have a real conversation without looking at your phone.

Exercise without judging
When we are exercising with others or even alone we sometimes start thinking about things. Sometimes it is negative self-talk. We see others doing everything smoothly and you are struggling or when you are following a workout on YouTube, you suddenly start thinking that you can’t do this. Stop the negative self-talk. Just go with the flow. Every time your mind wanders off, stop yourself and bring the focus back on your body. 

Eat mindfully
I have to admit that I also do other things when I am eating something, but it is better to eat mindfully. Apparently, you don’t eat too much when you eat mindfully which is good for staying at a healthy weight. But you also enjoy your meal better when you are staying in the moment. You notice the flavours and/or texture and you notice it tastes better when you just focus on eating your meal. And be grateful for each meal. 

Live in the moment on your vacation
You are on a well-deserved vacation, but your mind is already at home and work. You start thinking about the things you have to do when this vacation is over. Stop thinking about that! You needed this vacation because you need to rest. Work will still be there when you are home again. Vacations are for relaxation and having fun. Do something fun (with your family), have some quality time and do whatever you want to do. Just go with the flow and appreciate this moment.

Listen to music
Another way to be more in the moment is to let yourself go while you are listening to your favourite music. Maybe you can close your eyes and just feel it. Or maybe you love to dance when listening to music. Lose yourself in the moment. Listening to music can help you to reduce stress and anxiety. Living in the moment also means you are losing yourself in the moment and you go with the flow.

Pay attention around you
What is going on around you? What do you, see, hear and smell? This is also a great exercise for when you have anxiety. If you go outside and you really pay attention to what is happening around you, you stop thinking. And those thoughts make you feel anxious and stressed. Soon you will feel better, and relaxed and you start noticing things. I love to do this when I am on my way to work and sometimes I notice interesting things. For example, I saw foxes, rabbits and deer when I really paid attention. But when I am somewhere else with my thoughts, sometimes I don’t even notice other cyclists. Which can be dangerous obviously.

Do something different each day
The reason why we start living on autopilot is that we do the same things over and over again. When you have the same routine every day, you don’t have to think about what you should do next. Your body takes over and you start thinking about other things. That is why I would recommend doing something different every day. Maybe try a new recipe, or go out instead of watching Netflix every night or take a different route to work/school. When you do something new, you suddenly are paying attention and you start living in the moment. 

Ask yourself how you are feeling
Sometimes we live on autopilot for so long, that we completely forget ourselves. We forget to listen to our bodies and what it needs. So take a few moments each day to really listen to your body and what you are really feeling. Maybe you notice you are feeling stressed, then you can take action to feel more relaxed. Or maybe you just need more sleep. Focusing on your body helps also to live in the moment because we focus on ourselves and then we have no time to think about our past or future.

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash



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