3 Simple Ways to Switch Out of Autopilot

Three mindfulness tips to interrupt mind wandering and re-wire the brain.

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When you’re not paying attention to anything in particular, what’s going on in the brain? Turns out, it continues quietly whirring away, re-charting old pathways. Our default mode doesn’t have to be suffering, replaying old narratives in our mind. With mindfulness, we can insert ourselves back into the present moment. And when we inevitably slide back into autopilot, our mindfulness practice can kick in, too. Research suggests that the brains of experienced meditators wander less—that the quality of their resting brains is actually different, “more present-centered.”

Here are three simple ways you can shift out of autopilot mode:

1) Gentle body scan: A relaxed body leads to a relaxed mind. Go through your body in search of any tension or holding that’s there and see if you can intentionally allow that to soften or adjust. Stretch your body in any areas you’re noticing a constriction.

2) Get your face out of your phone: If you’re like me, you know you’re a little too connected to this two-dimensional device. It’s the greatest force of distraction in this world, it’s the thief of our attention. See if you can set some boundaries around it.

Notice where…