3 Ways to Kick Autopilot to the Curb

3 minute read

Self-regulators, mount up!

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but there’s been a crazy amount of heightened emotions flooding our mental space over the past few weeks. Some may say that it’s been going on for the past year and others will argue that it’s been going on since the beginning of time.

It’s not about being right or wrong here. That’s missing the point.

What it is about is finding coping mechanisms to rise above the ebb and flow of it all instead of being sucked down by a ruthless emotional undertow.

Yes, it’s that serious.

We are taking in a massive amount of information every single day and by not choosing to regulate what we allow into our thought stream, we are as good as gone – mentally, emotionally and physically.

We feel frustrated and irritable. Overwhelmed and anxious. Depressed and numb. All the while not realizing how or why we got here. We normalize these feelings until something tragic happens to wake us up and snap us out of it.

No more, man. Done with that.

Paying attention to how we react is numero uno when it comes to destressing and communicating from a place of a grounded reality. Are you agreeing just to agree? Saying yes just to avoid confrontation? People pleasing is very different from true kindness. I’m not suggesting that we all stop being polite and start getting real. There’s already enough of that out there.

I’m talking about sloooowing it down so that we can find out how to be polite in a real genuine way. Something I need to remind myself every single day. Not a superficial on the brink of a nervous breakdown polite. That just makes people confused with whether to hug or hide from you.

There is such a thing as setting boundaries and preserving your self-respect. True politeness will sometimes disappoint people but it also gains respect from those who matter most. It keeps you true to yourself so that you can give yourself to people in a way that you approve of.

Self-regulation allows for this to happen on the reg. It strengthens our will power, decreases our need for immediate gratification, lessens regret, enhances fulfillment, and slows down our knee-jerk reaction to well, pretty much everything. We learn it young and sometimes need to remind ourselves why it’s just as important as learning our ABC’s.

The problem lies in this damn FOMO. The trendy hashtag buzz of the Fear Of Missing Out was the It Girl for way too long. It’s worn off slightly but the feeling is still leaving us jonesing for a fix. And since a quick fix is always at our finger tips, it’s even harder to resist. That’s why we need to build up the practice of self-regulation.

After all, how can we self-regulate if we’re too busy wondering what we’re missing out on instead of paying attention to what we’re partaking in? We can’t.

Can we focus our mind enough to set clear boundaries and goals for ourselves? Is there still time to slow down our record reaction time and take back what’s rightfully ours? Absofreakinlutely! It takes nerve and determination. You have it in you to face challenges that most people fear. You do.

Where do we start? With the grand master of course: your phone.

3 ways to help you check in so you don’t check out when it matters most:

1. Turn off your notifications. Instead of breaks from social media, what if we lived in a world where we allowed our breaks to include social media. What does this look like? The majority of your day would be spent off of social media. You set clear times for when you check your feeds and for how long. Set a 15-minute timer. Pay attention to where you are and how you are reacting to people, situations, yourself. Don’t allow autopilot to drive your brain. You’re better than that.

2. Turn your phone on airplane mode. Working on a project? Brainstorming session with co-workers? Writing a blog? These are times when the only tech that is needed for the job is the only tech that is needed to be on. Hi Flow, it’s been awhile.

With brainstorming sessions, brace yourself, a zero tech rule (yes, as in, no tech allowed in the room) needs to be enforced to allow for person to person energy flow and creative ideas to flourish. Thank you to Bob Kulhan’s book, “Getting to ‘Yes And’: The Art of Business Improv” for that reminder. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.

3. Turn off your phone. If you’re a rebellious soul this one is the bomb diggity. Obviously, you would not do this if/when you are expecting an important call. For those other 23 hours in the day, there is that thing called voice mail, oh and, patience. There may be a feeling that you’re missing an appendage for a little while. It’s okay. It’s all going to be okay. Break through it and you’ll find that you are ready to set clear boundaries for yourself and others on how often you use your phone.

Ease into these three steps and you’ll soon find that numbness will fade and clarity will surface. You’ll feel “back” and more in control of how you respond to people and situations.

It’s pretty awesome. Go see for yourself.

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