Send your autopilot on holiday

26 Jul

This article is part of the series “31 blogs in 31 days” during July 2017 on howtofab.com.

I am a big fan of Adriene Mishler’s “Yoga with Adriene” channel and have been following her videos for a few years now. Two of her “mantras” she repeatedly uses during her routines and that I simply low are:

“Find what feels good” & “Stay connected”

So simple and so beautiful.

We spend so much of our lives in autopilot mode without realising it – from our wake-up coffee in the morning, doing our make-up, commuting to work, doing our work, commuting home, our evening programme etc. Autopilot is not necessarily a bad state to be in, but when used in excess, it dulls our live to a worrying point as it detaches us from what’s actually going on around and inside us. When we are in autopilot mode, we do things out of routine, without thinking, without asking ourselves what it is we actually want right now, or whether there is an alternative, a better way than our usual way of doing things. And more often than not, things we do out of routine and without thinking aren’t great for us. Even if they aren’t super bad, when we are not consciously tuned into them, we don’t enjoy them as much as we can and we are hence cutting ourselves short.

Find what feels good – there is not one right way of doing Yoga just as there isn’t just one right way of living your life. Every day presents us with a multitude of choices and perhaps what felt good yesterday isn’t the same as today. Whenever you feel nervous, irritated, whenever you can’t concentrate or you feel any discomfort, repeat those words and see if you can find out what you need in that moment. (This circles back to my article on Stress – “What do I need right now?”). Or if you notice yourself doing a routine task – is this making you feel good? Could you change it in a way that would make the experience a better one?

Staying connected – while I note it more with women, I think that also men struggle with their mind-body connection. I am a great supporter of a holistic take on life, health and happiness, and I strongly believe that our bodies tell us when they are in pain (often through our thinking), just as our minds tell us (often through our bodies). When we have lived on autopilot for too long, we may no longer notice or understand those signals and messages, but they are there and for us to be found.

Consciously monitoring and scanning our bodies and thoughts for messages, good or bad, for aches or pains, tingling or whatever sensations – and welcoming anything we may find, is a first step to a healthy relationship with ourselves. So many processes in our body happen well below our level of consciousness – our metabolism, breathing, digestion, growth etc. And of course we can’t consciously be aware of all these things all the time. But sometimes we should remind ourselves that while we take it for granted, our body works in our best possible interest – it has nothing but our wellbeing at heart (illnesses like cancer aside).

It sometimes takes just a few words to remind us that there are also things we can do consciously ourselves to support those processes. It doesn’t have to be Yoga, a calming cup of tea and closing our eyes for a few minutes, an invigorating walk outside, a quick stretch, 2 minutes of conscious breathing or really, really enjoying that piece of chocolate or glass of red wine…. if that makes you feel good, do it, but make sure to really, really enjoy it! And even if it’s something “naughty” you are considering – enjoy it! And if there is anything you could do right before or right after that you know will make the impact less painful, do it. Making conscious decisions, with your autopilot switched off, and listening to your mind-body connection – that certainly helps you to find what feels good.

Picture: Stocksnap via Pexels / CC0

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