Living Consciously: How to step off autopilot and into the now

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With only two months to go until we step into another new year, how much of 2015 did we spend being fully present and enjoying real moments of happiness? If you’re like me, you can probably count the number of moments on one hand, or if you’re lucky maybe on two. The rest of the time was probably spent living on autopilot, getting the myriad of little things done and only coming up for air when you really need to. When we live on autopilot we’re not really here, we might be listening to a friend but our attention is focused on what we’ll be doing later that day. We might spend weeks looking forward to a celebration only to think about what time we’ll leave once we arrive.

When we get into the habit of always thinking about the next thing, we miss the moment. Days and months pass in a blink without us noticing. We say things like, I can’t wait to graduate, I can’t wait to get a job, I can’t wait to get promoted, I can’t wait to have kids, I can’t wait for my kids to grow up, I can’t wait to retire. We race through life chasing the things that we think will make us happy, and it can take years to realise that what we are chasing will not make us happy because we won’t be there to enjoy it.

Paying attention to what’s happening right now is what gives life better focus, and focusing on what we’re doing when we’re doing it brings us into the present. Making a habit of being where we’re supposed to be helps life slow down and we can appreciate what we have when we have it. Those are the moments that make us feel truly alive. The next time you find yourself spending time with your friend, put the phone away and really listen to the person sitting opposite you. When you’re out for a walk, forget about what you need to do when you get home and enjoy the now. When you get some good news, take the time to celebrate without automatically moving on to the next thing.

It’s easy to get into the mindset of thinking that life is one giant bucket list but try not to get so caught up in your life that you forget to live because this moment is the only place you can ever guarantee.

By Sinead Van Kampen @omtothepeople

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