Mindlessness and Autopilot
We talk a lot about mindfulness and living in the present moment. But it helps to understand mindlessness in order to recognise it and live mindfully.
Mindlessness is the complete opposite of mindfulness. How often do you find when you’re heading home from work or driving to the supermarket for example, that your thoughts are rushing ahead? You need to get to work, home or the shops faster. Thinking of things you need to do later that day or the next day. How often do we pause for lunch, and really take a moment to enjoy what it is we’re eating? Perhaps you find that you quickly eat whilst you work, thinking of the tasks ahead of you in the afternoon and trying to squeeze in some quick and easy tasks whilst you eat.
Revisiting conversations in your head, or perhaps pre-empting conversations that may never even happen are also an aspect of mindlessness, albeit at the more anxious end of the spectrum. You’re operating on autopilot, not really aware of what is happening in the here and now. Life is busy, and you’ll find that we all experience this and probably more often than you realise.
Mindfulness can help you to free yourself from autopilot. By practicing mindfulness, you develop awareness of your thoughts by consciously paying attention to what is happening in the present moment. Our inner critic can so easily jump into these thoughts too. But it is important to remember that the act of mindfulness is that our awareness is without judgement.