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Auto-Pilot versus Awareness

We are creatures of habit. There are many moments in the day where this leaves us susceptible to falling into “auto-pilot”. We can brush our teeth, shower, drive, eat, even work at times without being fully aware. We are doing, without being fully present with our action(s), instead in these moments we can be elsewhere in our minds. Mindful practices has become a popular method of interrupting our auto-pilot. It’s so much more than a fad, or current buzz word. It has been around for a long time, with many benefits. Research continues to look at the impact of mindful practices, while it’s being more formally incorporated into mental health interventions such as with, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.

While mindfulness brings many benefits, here are just 5 ways greater awareness can impact our lives!

  1. Perspective – the act of being mindful (bringing attention to the present experience with acceptance & non-judgement), creates greater awareness of what’s happening internally and externally. That awareness comes hand in hand with a greater perspective. We see ourselves, others and our context further, which can be beneficial for problem solving, decision making, communication, connection, and more!
  2. Choice –As noted above, mindfulness brings greater perspective. That perspective can help us in our decision making. We can see options that may not have otherwise been noticed. With greater internal and external awareness, we can make more informed decisions. Mindfulness can allow us to be cognizant of how our decisions align with our personal values/goals, as well as how they may impact others.
  3. Hope – With perspective and choice can come hope, where we may have felt limited. Mindfulness opens up our thoughts and experience.
  4. Calm – A side effect of being mindful or opening up awareness is feeling calm. When we are caught up in doing, we are exerting mental energy, as well as physical. We may think we’re being efficient by multi-tasking but think of phone/laptop battery life when multiple apps are running. There is more energy spent, we may feel like were accomplishing more simultaneously but it comes with a cost, and studies show we may not be as effective as we think. Aside from the calm, that perspective and hope can offer, mindfulness can remind us to breathe and regulate.
  5. Enjoyment – When caught up in doing, we can forget what it’s like to be. Even an exciting or enjoyable event may become stressful if we’re caught up in our minds instead of present in the moment. Practicing mindfulness brings awareness to the experience instead of it living it at a thought level.

Break out of auto-pilot and experience these benefits and more! A simple search for benefits of mindfulness returns rich content including scholarly articles. For support growing your mindful practice, see our upcoming events or connect with me directly.