Running on Autopilot

Neuroscientists tell us that almost all our behaviour runs on autopilot. The neural pathways in the brain also tend to create shortcuts. This is how we often find ourselves relapsing into old behavioural patterns instead of doing what we set out to do. We call this “fast brain mode”.

Mindfulness Meditation is the amazing gift available to all of us that can help us solve this issue. It slows everything down. It allows us to take control rather than being on autopilot. We can get clarity of mind and have a better chance of making the right decisions. This is called “slow brain mode”.

1. Leave your meditation cushion where you can see it.

If you are having trouble sticking to your meditation practice leave meditation cushion out so that it serves as a reminder. I also set reminders for my morning practice in my calendar each morning.

2. Refresh and reinforce your intentions regularly.

I used to set intentions for new habits, and they usually worked for a short while. Over time I would often revert to my old habits. My new approach seems to work well, I have found that reviewing my intentions on a regular basis is the answer. I carry a copy in my handbag, and I make a point of reading them out loud to myself every day. This way I feel I am taking control and developing new pathways. I find this very empowering, and I always celebrate my successes.

3. Establish new patterns and rules.

I love creating new patterns and having fun with it. For example, one of my recent intentional patterns was to take three deep breaths before a meal and to think about where my food came from and really stop and appreciate what was in front of me. I teach Mindful eating habits to my clients and I have found that eating my meals is now a more “mindful ritual “which is also very enjoyable. I can appreciate my food and find it more digestible by eating mindfully. You can set simple intentions for yourself like: “If phone rings, take a breath before answering.” Each intentional action to shift into mindfulness will strengthen the slow brain and help us avoid autopilot.

For more information on our Mindfulness Meditation and Mindful Eating programs visit :