Whether today is an epic list of to-dos, a routine you know by heart, or the unexpected, it’s always a good time to pause. I call a pause any intentional shift in behavior that allows you the space to experience a mental shift in attitude, thoughts, or emotions that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred.
Pausing can allow new ideas to emerge, more satisfaction, and new ways of being and behaving that are aligned with what matters to you. The only requirement is your conscious choice to decide to shift your behavior. One of the easiest ways to do this is through what I call daily pauses.
Daily pausing is a chance to listen to your inner voice. Pausing can become a way of life that prevents burnout, reduces stress, and leads to new discoveries about oneself. Pausing is a choice that isn’t conventional (yet), but is a powerful way to realign and check in from time to time. Gift yourself a prescription to pause daily and intentionally shift your behavior so that you can tune in and become your best self.
Here are a few ways you can choose to pause daily. Be open to seeing what happens or how you can feel differently. Pick one and practice it within the next thirty minutes. What happens when you try it? Work up to doing one a day for the coming week.
Belly Breath Pause: Sit or stand with both feet firmly on the ground and close your eyes if you are comfortable doing so. Place one hand on your diaphragm and slowly inhale, hold your breath, and slowly exhale. Count each inhale until you get to ten breaths.
Digital Device Pause: Create a rule to limit or not engage with your devices for a limited time, or avoid using devices to distract from time with family or friends.
The Outdoor Pause: Go outside for a walk around the block. Invite a friend for this “nature” pause and explain its purpose and discuss what you experienced.
Sipping Pause: Sip a cup of coffee or tea without distractions. Practice following your breath or noticing what your cup and what its contents look like, feels like, smells like, and tastes like.
Express gratitude for at least one thing today. Build your list up to ten things or set a timer for one minute and express appreciation for everything that comes to mind–the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Create a daily one-minute “mindful” awareness pause while you do something else like brushing your teeth, eating, or walking.
Deciding to take a daily pause is an act of courage and self-care. If you already have a daily pause practice, journal about your experience or add more time to your existing practice. One study shows that by writing about an emotional experience for two minutes a day, for two consecutive days improves mood and well being.
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