Updated: Jul 21, 2022
In this article we’ll look at the power of tuning in and connecting with our inner experiences.
Photo by Skylar Kang @ Pexels
These inner experiences include our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, urges, memories and so on - the inner world of our minds that we are often unaware of. Learning to notice and becoming aware of these inner experiences is the first step in gaining mental flexibility.
Let’s start by considering this question:
Do you move from one activity to the next, always doing something but not really getting anywhere?
0 - never
1 - occasionally
2 - sometimes
3 - often
4 - all of the time
Score your answer from 0 to 4. Journal it in your notebook or use the OK Positive mood check-in feature in your app. This score is just for you - see how it changes as you move through this learning journey, and build your mental flexibility.
If your score was high - in other words you noticed that you are often or always unaware of your thoughts and feelings, then you may be starting to see how easy it is to let our thoughts and feelings take over.
So is this a problem for us - and if so, why? When we function in Automatic Pilot we lose touch with the present moment. We can miss noticing the details that make life joyful. These are different for everyone. - maybe it's your child's smile as they notice something in their surroundings. Perhaps it's the delight of waking up to a sunny morning or the smell of coffee in your local cafe.
There's another side to automatic pilot when life isn't going so well and we're experiencing negative emotions. When we are operating in automatic pilot mode, we can get caught in a vicious cycle of spending time, effort and energy not to think certain thoughts or feel a certain way. Those actions could include drinking more alcohol than we need, or spending hours scrolling through social media.
These actions might help to alleviate our anxiety in the moment, but when they are repeated they become avoidance, and this can lead to psychological inflexibility. We'll cover this in our next journey step.