Auto response?


There are many happenings in every day that we respond to. Each happening can cause different thoughts and emotions to arise within us, whether we express them or keep them to ourselves.

Often we use an ‘auto response’: an automatic, unintentional, and unintended reaction. Without even being aware of what is going on inside us, we respond. We are in auto pilot.

By learning to pause – to notice what is happening within us and around us – we can change our auto response to an intentional response. It’s part of living mindfully; living with awareness.

Look out for a situation today where you feel an emotion, perhaps of impatience (it’s a common emotion!). Notice the reaction you have: how you feel, what you are thinking, what is happening physically in your body. Pay attention. Notice. PAUSE.

You may find focusing on your breathing for a moment helps you to pause.

And now make a choice on what you do next. Not an auto-response; an intentional response.

Just maybe, you notice the sun is shining on you – or an equivalent in the situation – that you would have missed in auto-response mode. Perhaps you take a different course of action to what you would have.

It isn’t easy to change our auto response: we need to practice. It helps to practice with others at times. The reward? A fuller experience of life, this moment, this day.

Join Julie Hill and Sara Shailer for an evening of mindfulness this evening, 25 March 2019, at the Oasis in Cheltenham. Book your place by emailing

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