THE POWER OF THE PAUSE
There are times when simplifying is not an option and there’s nothing wrong with having a full schedule, but it’s important to take care of yourself when you’re balancing commitments. One way of doing this is by creating deliberate pauses throughout the day. They will help to transport you back into the present moment, to refocus on what you’re doing, and, most of all, to take a well-earned break.
“The mind is like water. When it’s turbulent, it’s difficult to see. When it’s calm, everything becomes clear.” – Prasad Mahes
Brief and intentional pauses enable you to stop and embrace where you are. The primary goal is to reconnect with your mind, body and surroundings. However, it’s wise to consider if they will fit in with your lifestyle. For instance, enjoying activities with other people is an excellent way to keep everyone motivated, like going for a walk with a colleague. If you are interested in implementing some everyday rituals, there are a few things to try:
It’s good to practice mindfulness throughout the day. And the best thing about mindfulness is that it can be done anytime and anywhere. All you need to do is focus on your breathing and by letting go of your thoughts you can fully connect with the moment. Every time a thought pops up simply let it go and gently guide your mind back to the breath. It’s a great technique if you are feeing the pressure of the day and would like to check in with yourself. And to go a step further, you can look around and appreciate the details of your surroundings.
Walking changes your scenery, exposes you to light and fresh air, and enables you to be more mindful. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed it can gently ease the pressure, bringing some perspective to the situation. A walk can be incorporated into a lunch break or become a morning or evening activity. You might want to try mindful walking, which involves being conscious of the sensations of movement in the body and having a greater awareness of the world around you.
Many people love to get lost in a good book. It could be argued that when a person is reading they are not fully present, but in a world of activity and nonstop technology it can be valuable to spend time immersed in one pursuit. Some great books that will change your life: Solve for Happy by Mo Gawdat, Choose the Life You Want by Tal Ben-Shahar, The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky, and The Greek Diet by Maria Loi.
Creating time to quiet the mind allows you to stop, relax, and look inward. Having a few minutes of silence can enable you to gain a better understanding of how you are feeling. The easiest way to begin meditating is by focusing on the breath — an example of one of the most common approaches to meditation: concentration. It is a wonderful activity to introduce to your daily routine, helping you to become a little more present in everyday life.
A great everyday ritual is to stop and make a hot beverage. Being mindful of the senses is a helpful way to welcome yourself into the present moment. And if you enjoy it, why not take it a step further and combine it with writing down things you are thankful for? Being grateful can help people cope with stress and can even have a beneficial effect on heart rate.