How to Practice Mindfulness (and Finally Get Out of Autopilot)

It’s easy to live your life on autopilot—especially when your days are spent trapped in your home. You wake up, work, eat, and go to bed. Because of that, some days might not be very memorable at all. But that’s where mindfulness comes in: It allows you to take a step back and be more present in your life.

In a virtual webinar about the power of mindfulness, Kristianna George, an Atlanta-based health and wellness coach, discussed the autopilot state many people find themselves in.

“Being on autopilot means you’re not focusing on or thinking about what’s happening in the here and now. It’s actually a wonderful thing. It prevents us from overloading ourselves and allows us to be able to do two things at once. We have so many decisions to make in a day—around 35,000 on average—and it’s almost impossible to make those decisions with a conscious mind 24/7, so autopilot helps you be more efficient.”

The downside of being on autopilot is that it can hijack your life and cause you to disengage. When you bring mindfulness into the picture, however, life becomes a very different experience, and even those bland weekdays become more enjoyable and memorable.

The more you can train your brain to recognize when it’s in autopilot, the faster you’ll be able to bring it back into the present moment,” George says. “Mindfulness can be used any time, any day, and at any moment. The key is to utilize your five senses wherever you are, and whenever you can. It allows us to focus and be more curious and approach the present moment with kindness.”

These moments of mindfulness don’t have to be complicated, and there are multiple different ways you can practice it. George says one of them is simply taking a “personal pause,” where you stop what you’re doing, look around, and check in on yourself. Or, practice mindfulness while you’re going about your daily schedule.

“Instead of rushing, pouring your coffee, taking a swig, and getting a boost of caffeine, take the time to watch the coffee as you pour it into your cup, see the steam rise, smell the notes of the coffee grinds, and really allow the taste to settle in,” George says. “Or, get in motion with mindfully walking and feeling your feet on the ground, or mindful eating, where you’re really looking at the colors of the food, tasting it, and slowly chewing it.”

Mindfulness definitely takes practice, but when you start practicing it daily, it won’t take long before you really start noticing a difference in the way you feel.


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