Scientific research is now showing that changing your routine and getting out of autopilot mode will increase the amount of happiness in your life. So how should we go about doing this? What habits should we change? Let’s realize that the mind can only do one thing at a time. If you’re trying to multitask you’re doing it at the expense of efficiency or because one of the tasks is subconscious.
We go through our day in autopilot mode, subconsciously doing all the monotonous tasks that require little to no real focus or concentration. Therefore our minds our somewhere else, lost in thought of the past or the future. Not really experiencing anything in the here and the now. Doing so creates a world of emotions and consistently varying outlook on life. When a good thought comes into our mind we see a bright future and have ideas about how were going to grow. On the other hand, when we fail at something or do something wrong we will often get down on ourselves and beat ourselves up for making a mistake.
Ways to get out of Autopilot
1. Appreciate and savor the little things in life
To create lasting happiness we must first realize and appreciate the things around us. Start taking in all the wonders that life has to offer, no matter what situation you’re in.
You can be amazed by almost anything. For example, if you were sitting in a room, surrounded with four white walls. Nothing to do except observe and introspect. You could amazed by how the building you’re currently in was built. How over history we have been able to create buildings in which the temperature is regulated no matter what season. Just being able to savor the little things that life has to offer bestows tremendous benefits.
2. Observing reality
Gain Mindfulness in every aspect of life. Become aware of everything around you. For example, the colors of the walls of the room you’re in. The color of the things right in front of you. The sounds of life. It could be the wind howling outside or the typing of your coworkers keyboard. The sounds of a voice in the distance.
Feel all the internal sensations of the present moment. The pressure of your feet on the ground. The bit of pain in your lower back. The sensations of hunger or sickness. The feeling of something in your throat that is making your cough. Don’t act on them but simply let them be. Accept them and don’t resist the uncomfortable feeling. Suffering stems from the resistance to the unpleasant situation. Not only can you observe the external world but also the internal workings of the mind.
By becoming aware of the mind we can control it. Notice how you’re feeling at the present moment. Are you angry, depressed, excited, happy, fulfilled, insightful, hopeless, etc? Whatever it is simple become aware of it. Simply watch the emotion as it passes by, nothing is permanent. The beginning of a journey towards equanimity is when you can simply watch your emotions and not react to them.
Is your mind filled with thoughts? Are your emotions based on those thoughts? The whole purpose of observing reality is to bring our minds back to the present moment. So the next time you find yourself lost in thought, simply try one of these processes, internal or external, for bringing your mind back to the present moment.
3. Spending less time on our phones
Phones are the biggest distraction of modern society. People all around us have there heads looking down into a glowing screen for most the day. It’s easier to follow the previous two points when our heads aren’t always needing stimulation. A few ways to go about this are
Pick certain times throughout the day that you’re fine using it and others when you want to stop. Try to put the phone down when someone is talking to you or when you’re around friends, family, colleagues, etc. On the other hand, when you’re by yourself it would be totally fine to check your phone.
4. Change it up a bit
Focus on changing your routine throughout the day. There are many ways to do this. A few of them include taking a different route to work, changing the order in which you do things, wear different clothes(that are already in your closet, this isn’t an excuse to go buy a new outfit), take a cold shower, etc. Anything that you can think of that