Your not alone if you’ve ever have done things strictly out of habit. You also may not have known that you were doing them either. I’m not talking about being intoxicated or being on drugs, I’m referring to things that you do out of instinct or are second nature to you, but your mind doesn’t always register what your doing.
There are things in our life that we do automatically because we have done them so many times just recently or have been doing them for an extended period of time. These can range from folding clothes, doing long division, sculpting, painting, fixing a tractor, etc. If we have done something numerous times for an extended period of time, then we can do those things and be sometimes not be fully aware of our actions. This doesn’t happen all the time, but we can sometimes get more easily caught up in our thoughts.
For example, you have vacuumed your living numerous times that you have your own technique and way of doing it. The next time you vacuum, you are still aware of your surroundings and what you need to sweep, but more of your energy is going more toward your how you think. You may be thinking about work the next day, how your going to study for your quiz tomorrow, do you have feelings for a friend of yours, if your brother is feeling better after getting the flu, etc. You can be doing a lot of thinking to where your lost in your thoughts, yet your still doing a good job vacuuming your living room. You may have been so caught in your thoughts that you didn’t realize that you finished vacuuming the living room. Vacuuming the living room has become second nature to you.
This is what I mean by going into robot mode. Your aware that your doing something, but you were putting more of your energy and focus toward your thoughts. You were more present in your mind than you were to what is going on around you and what you were doing.
Back to the Present
Long term habits can become second nature and instinctual to you as I mentioned. Sometimes it takes a loud sound, someone talking to you, or touching you to bring you back to reality. There may be a sudden scare or a bit of confusion by coming back to the present.
I believe we don’t always intentionally get lost in our thoughts when we do things we’ve done dozens of times. If we have something big on our mind that were trying to figure out, we can get caught up in trying to solve it.
Here’s some tips on how to better manage this concept and how to come back to the present:
- Distract your mind by talking to someone
- Try something different that you’ve never done before (doesn’t have to be big)
- Change up your behavioral patterns by doing something you normally do last first
- Do things that are second nature to you first if you have a list of things to get done. They can get done faster
- Close your eyes and pay closer attention to the sounds around you and describe them in as much detail as you can
I hope this concept wasn’t too confusing to understand. We can go into robot mode when we do something for too long even in a short amount of time. If we do anything over and over again for an extended period of time, we can get more caught up in our thoughts to where we’re doing more deep and cognitive thinking than normal. You can say getting caught up in our thoughts is another way of entertaining ourselves if were doing something not exciting to us, but we have done it many many times.
As I mentioned in the vacuuming your living room example, time can get away from you. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it’s not. The deep thinking were doing can be about the past or the future. It’s hard to stay on the present because we do think ahead to the future or look back into our past.
We tend to not do any deep thinking when were learning something new because were putting our energy and focus into learning that thing. Were not giving ourselves the opportunity to get caught up in our thoughts. This can include listening to someone, mimicking what someone else is doing, or seeing how something is done. Learning new things can become habits down the road and they can become second nature and instinctual to you where you can go into robot mode.
Take care, stay safe, and remember your not alone and you have worth in this world.