We’re not machines, but sometimes we feel like one.

With the same routines, to-do lists, daily demands, and career stresses, it’s easy to go through the motions of life without being conscious. Symptoms of autopilot are subtle, which can make it difficult to break out of them. To combat “thoughtless thinking,” we must recognize the symptoms and make the appropriate changes. These are 11 indications that you suffer from autopilot:

No energy

Perception that there isn’t enough time

Days disappear into the next

Nothing changes… ever

Conscious thought is a distant memory

Constantly busy, distracted, or overworked

Feelings of unhappiness or unfulfillment

Head is in the clouds

Extreme forgetfulness

Unobservant of people, places, and things

Tasks are completed absent-mindedly

When we switch off of autopilot, life changes dramatically. It gets better—much better. Work gets done faster, relationships grow, life events are more appealing, and we feel more fulfilled. Experiencing most or all of these symptoms means life is being lived in full-blown robotic navigation mode. Don’t feel bad. It happens to almost everyone. Life has so many compartments and managing them all can feel impossible. Sometimes it takes a catastrophic event to wake us up. Other times, it’s simply a feeling that something’s missing. From deep sleep to being wide-awake, there are actions we can take to overcome autopilot.

Try these steps to help reverse mindlessness.

1st Step – Deep Sleep:

Realize you’re on autopilot. Mental blocks hold us back from a satisfying life and are a major contributor to autopilot. These blocks can come from negative belief systems within, life stress, traumatic events, self-esteem, or distorted self-images. Confront them and learn how to move on.

2nd Step – Groggy:

First, seek out a life coach. Reading materials work too. Helpful books include Paulo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage and Lauryn Weaver’s Living Intentionally. Sometimes it’s hard to realize what we truly feel or believe. As a result, negative belief systems can creep into our minds without permission. They can be hard to overcome, but not impossible for anyone to erase. Spend silent time contemplating who you are and what you believe. Write them down. If they are negative, look at yourself in the mirror everyday and repeat the opposite of each negative thought about yourself. Eventually, negative beliefs become positive affirmations.

3rd Step – Aware:

Introduce new routines that help break you out of autopilot. Meditation can bring a new level of focus and self-awareness to life. The deep breaths and conscious thought can help you feel more alive, present, and connected to your true self.

4th Step – Wide Awake:

Exercise helps invigorate our minds and bodies. Every day, incorporate slow walking to your routine or a daily work out. It will help keep your thoughts moving and energy up. Yoga has also heightened self-awareness and encouraged individuals to stay present in life. At night, our minds can run wild thinking of all the things we need to do. If we’re able to focus better, we can get more done during the day. Accomplishing more tasks and keeping thoughts clear will help reduce anxiety. When thoughts are released during the day, it’s easier to sleep at night. Adequate sleep allows us to stay wide awake during the day.

At nightfall, you may feel happier, more alive, and tuned into the world around you. Without autopilot, your relationships can improve, your focus at work can increase, and the overall quality of life can become enhanced. The best part is: you’ll feel like yourself again. So, leave autopilot to the planes and trains. From there, life will move forward to amazing places.

Full print interview in UNDO MAG: Issue 7 

Writer: Diane Irving
Photographer: Dakarai Akil


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