To live a full, joyful life, sometimes you need to pause, change things up, get quiet, look inside and just be.

We often think we are taking short breaks during our working day or our busy life, but are we actually stopping to just ‘be’,  or do we continue with the ‘doing?’

Stepping of ‘autopilot’ as it is known helps us to really appreciate each moment, notice what is going on and feel real gratitude. It does of course take practice, but it’s well worth the effort and helps you to really notice moments that often pass us by when we are in that constant state of ‘mind wandering’

When’s the last time you stopped DOING for an extended period of time and experienced BEING?

You may wonder, what does this even mean? What does a true break look like? How is possible to just be? Keep reading…

It’s often difficult to truly STOP. Yet, stopping allows you to take in the beauty of life, without needing to produce anything or tend to someone else’s needs. It breaks your pattern of doing and opens you to so much more.

We often admire those who work hard and get things done more than we value those people who are fully present to their loved ones, or those who savour their precious time by taking breaks to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

When you stop to think about this, it’s quite sad. We work, work, work…then we work some more (I’m can be guilty of this too!). We make productivity our priority, losing sight of one of the most important reasons we work —  to revel in the beauty that surrounds us and the beauty that’s within us.

Sometimes it’s scary to stop because underneath all the busy-ness, you may not know what you’ll find or where your thoughts, feelings, sensations and memories will lead you.

As humans, we are innately fearful of the unknown. We cling to knowing because knowing is the alluring illusion of control – and control feels safe. Unfortunately, this safety and control is all in your mind.

However, when you take a true break, you learn how to be present and to fall in love again with the magic of being alive (even if it’s a bit scary to stop distracting yourself from what exists within). When you give yourself to truly BE, your whole body and all your senses light up. This is the product of mindfulness at its best.

To live a full, joyful life, sometimes you need to pause, change things up, get quiet, look inside and be.

In a car, we can sometimes drive for miles “on automatic pilot,” without really being aware of what we are doing. In the same way, we may not be really “present” moment-by-moment, for much of our lives: We can often be “miles away” without know­ing it.

On automatic pilot, we are more likely to have our “buttons pressed”: Events around us and thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the mind (of which we may be only dimly aware) can trigger old habits of thinking that are often unhelpful and may lead to worsening mood.

By becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and body sensations, from moment to moment, we give ourselves the possibility of greater freedom and choice; we do not have to go into the same old “mental ruts” that may have caused problems in the past.

The aim mindfulness is to increase awareness so that we can respond to situations with choice rather than react automatically. We do that by practicing to become more aware of where our attention is, and deliberately changing the focus of attention, over and over again.

Step off the autopilot

This activity is designed to bring mindfulness into your everyday life.

 

Choose one activity each day that you often do in automatic pilot.

Activities such as brushing your teeth, eating a meal, attending lectures, showering, preparing for bed, walking in the park are suitable. It is probably best to stick with one activity for a week or longer rather than changing the activity regularly.

 

When the time comes for that activity, do it in a fully mindful frame of mind.

Pay attention to the activity itself, what is happening right now. With teeth brushing you might feel the touch of the brush on each tooth and the gum, note the noise it is making become aware of the taste of the toothpaste. Just like in the breath awareness, if you find yourself thinking of other things then note it for a second or two and return to the sensations associated with brushing the teeth.

 

If the activity is likely to be longer than a few minutes such as eating a meal or walking in the park thenpractice the first two minutes mindfully. Pay attention to what you see, the sounds you hear, the feeling of your clothes as you walk. What can you smell?

 

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