Have you ever had the feeling you were living your life on automatic pilot? A similar metaphor could be when you get into your car and drive home without being aware of how you got there. Living on autopilot is about having the same routines and doing the same activities every week or everyday without considering why you’re doing them in the first place. And did it ever occur to you that not thinking about or even paying attention to what’s around you creates a big void in you? Suddenly days, weeks, years go by without fully being lived or experienced. Does time pass you by? If you feel this way carry on reading the rest of this article.
As human beings, we often don’t realize what a wonderful piece of nature’s engineering our brain is and the amount of potential it has. But our brain is also lazy and prone to go on “automatic mode”. Most of the time, this is a quite useful survival mechanism. Can you imagine yourself having to remember to breathe ever few seconds? It would be impossible to get anything done because it wouldn’t allow room for anything else! My point here is: although a very handy mechanism, going on “auto mode” all the time alienates you from your life and empties it of meaning. And isn’t true happiness in leading a life of meaning?
How to return at being the master and commander of your life?
Ever heard of mindfulness? Based on Buddhist thought, it was brought to the West in the 70’s and it has proven to be successful at helping people suffering from anxiety, depression and stress. In essence it helps people re-connect with themselves, others and what’s around you, preventing you from living an automated life. It’s not a religion, it’s basically a therapeutic tool. Is it hard to be mindful? Read on and let us know what you think.
5 Ways to become Mindful
- Stop. Yes, take 20 minutes off your busy life and meditate a while! Are you at the office? Good, sit back, close your eyes, and just listen to what’s around you. Block work from your mind, any worries and stop thinking about what to do next. Just focus on the here-and-now and your breathing. Feeling better? These 20 minutes of meditation will allow you to re-energize and concentrate on the job at hands.
- Overflow your senses. Too often we’re dependent on your vision to process and interpret the world. Would you be surprised if we told you our vision is not our most effective sense? So again, close your eyes, listen, smell, taste and touch! How often do you really enjoy a wonderful meal? Savoring each single taste of food and combination of flavors? Next time, take more than 10 minutes to really enjoy one of life’s greatest pleasures.
- Tune in your inner feelings. How are you feeling today right now? Did you know that most of psychological illnesses arise from poor processing of emotions? Everything seems piling up inside you unless you let go of some of that baggage. Talk to a friend, go to a therapist (!), but most important of all, listen to what you’re feeling. Those are the important signs that will help you take the right action.
- Enjoy. Yes, feel the joy! What’s life without a little joy and fun? Life isn’t some punishment we’re meant to endure. Life is to be enjoyed and flavored. Go out and do something you really love, spend time with friends and family, re-connect to yourself!
- Be thankful. This is a particular useful exercise. I do it all the time. Before you going to bed, think about all the people, things and experiences in your life you’re grateful for happening to you. Think about at least five. Might be hard at first, but if you do this often, you’ll soon realize your “Thank You” list is huge! Taking the time to think about all the wonderful people and events your life will surely help you re-connect with your life and lead a full on life!
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aseraphin/6853190725