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The Art of Switching in and Out of Autopilot

It is common to see people make decisions unconsciously. Autopilot happens when an individual takes action without thinking about it. People do a lot of activities absentmindedly, and these actions turn to habits when repeated.

Autopilot mode does not require mindfulness. There are different ways to know if an individual is on autopilot mode. One of such ways is when a person over-commits to a task without thinking of the consequences. An example is when an individual takes more jobs despite having many tasks undone because of the inability to say no.

Another way to know if an individual is on autopilot is when they waste time on irrelevant things. A major example is staying on the phone for hours despite having tasks. However, autopilot can be helpful in some situations.

Autopilot Mode is Not Always Bad

Contrary to popular opinion, autopilot mode is not always bad and can be healthy sometimes. The human brain gets to do some activities automatically after completely learning them. Also, being fully present at every moment can be stressful and draining for the brain. Although mindfulness has many benefits, autopilot mode also has advantages. Below are some of the advantages of autopilot mode:

More Energy for Non-familiar Tasks

Since the brain does not need to engage on autopilot fully, it creates room to process non-familiar tasks. As a result, the brain focuses on the new skill until it becomes an acquired skill after practice.

Ability to Solve Problems

People can use experiences from acquired skills to solve new problems. A reflection on past experiences can make an individual work on positive future outcomes. Therefore, the ability to solve problems can result from autopilot mode.

The Trap

Although the autopilot mode has advantages, it also has disadvantages. During autopilot mode, an individual is not aware of the present moment. However, when it occurs constantly, it makes an individual not experience every moment in their lives. This situation happens because they do things unconsciously without thinking about it.

An individual in autopilot mode finds it easy to miss out on certain parts of life. They are unable to notice the opportunity present in every moment. Sometimes they also do not know what their body is telling them because they do things unconsciously. An individual tends to miss chances and the ability to try out new things when they are mostly on autopilot mode.

To overcome this, try to be mentally present throughout serious tasks. Know why you are doing some activities, and do not do them absentmindedly. Also, avoid distractions during tasks and allow yourself to focus again when distracted.

In addition, it is important to analyze and organize thoughts. This habit makes you mindful of most activities and limits your unconscious thoughts. When mindful of the activities, you are actively involved when taking action or assessing options. This habit will lead to positive moods and a less stressful day.

Turning the Autopilot Off

It is advisable for an individual not to be in autopilot mode every time. When you engage the brain and mind, it makes the activities exciting and the day productive. Below are some of the ways to turn the autopilot mode off:

Look for New Skills

Learning new skills engages the brain, making an individual more involved in the tasks. When distracted, learn to focus back on the activity. Also, practice looking at the environment and analyzing what interests you. Look for new and different things that catch your attention. While doing this, ask questions about the environment.

Be Mindful of the Things You Do

Engage your brain and mind in everything you do and create positive habits. Some people fall into negative patterns due to living on autopilot. For example, If you absentmindedly drink a few beers after work, but realize you’re drinking more frequently, it could lead to an addiction. Staying mindful allows you to recognize the problem and seek options like drug addiction rehab in West Palm Beach or your area to get help.

Accept Other People’s Opinions and Perspectives

It is easy to respond to people unconsciously when in autopilot mode. Ensure you think through someone’s opinion before giving your own perspective.

Prioritize Having a Healthy State of Mind

People slip into autopilot mode almost every day. Autopilot means doing things without thinking. Often, most people do not realize they are doing it, and it has become a routine for them. An individual is unaware of the present moment in autopilot mode.

Although autopilot mode has its benefits, it also has disadvantages. If an individual has to think about every activity, they will be stressed. Therefore, autopilot mode has its usefulness. However, it can be harmful when it becomes a habit.

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