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Autopilot has gone from being an evolutionary protection mechanism that stopped our brains overloading, to our default mode of operating whereby we sleepwalk into our choices

Having an auto pilot has it's advantages, but what if it's on all the time, who's running the show, and more to the point, is your auto pilot functioning correctly in the first place? 

We can consider the auto pilot as the opposite of being being mindful, operating unconsciously rather consciously and it's the difference between surviving, and thriving...

Signs of emotional burnout

Think of running on auto pilot as a maladaptive coping strategy...an aeroplane can run on auto pilot for a while, once at the right altitude and on the right flight path, the pilot invokes the auto pilot when the time is right, when it is safe to do so, he makes a conscious choice, and is on duty to take over if the auto pilot fails.

 

Or when it is presented with a challenge it cannot complete, for example landing itself safely on a runway, or refuelling. If however it is left to it's own devices, and is switched off, with nobody there to grab the controls when it gets in trouble, the outcome is of course inevitable.

Your the pilot

Your auto pilot is needed sometimes, there are occasions when you just have to get things done, and some routine and structure can be very useful (when applied with conscious choice).

But it becomes maladaptive when it takes over, a never ending cycle of 'managing' your life, to the point you can't even remember the last time you actually stopped and sat for a moment and reflected on how you manoeuvre your way through life, it just happens, it runs on autopilot, eat, sleep, work, repeat...

And it's exhausting. The only  moment of bliss seems to be when you fall into bed at night, hoping for some restful sleep, but often only to find yourself laid worrying about tomorrow, before it has even began.

Your body has turned off, it is ready to recharge through healing sleep, but your mind has other ideas.

Sleeping is healing

So to try and understand emotional burnout better (the plane crash)  we need to understand how our autopilot is working, and this means understanding our behaviours better, and the software they are running on, by taking a look inside and practicing increased self-awareness.

One of the things we have discovered is that people who suffer with burnout spend all their lives giving to others, and never taking any time for themselves. People pleasing is a huge contributor to feeling burnt out, especially if it not being reciprocated, for example in one sided (abusive) relationships.

Spending all your time making sure everyone else is ok, meeting everyone else's needs, and yet never meeting your own (and most people don't even understand what those needs are). As for depending on someone else to meet them for you, that is futile, they cannot even meet their own needs, it is why your so tired, because you spend all you life giving...

But you can start take back control, and the solution as always  buried deep inside you...

Selfcare is not selfish