The modern world tends to be incredibly busy. We often find ourselves rushing from place to place, from one thing to another. From the moment we wake up until the moment we get back in bed at night, we are often tied to a to-do list – which just never quite seems to get all the way done.
What gets lost in all this activity is the power of pressing PAUSE.
There is a huge amount of value in taking a short pause from the chaos of daily life. During this time, you do not try to check things off your to-do list, and you do not try to get anything done. You give yourself some time and space just to be, and to appreciate and enjoy your life.
If you do not take pauses regularly, then it is very likely that your body will force you to take a pause. Chronic stress increases the risk of major health problems, and if you do not pause and let the stress release, then it is going to catch up with you at some point. Even if you feel like you do not have time for a pause, the truth is that you really cannot afford not to take pauses.
Different people may prefer different ways of taking a pause. Here are some ways to harness the power of the pause. You can choose one or more - whatever feels right to you.Taking a mindful walk
- One great way to take a pause is to take a walk. In general, the walk will not really feel like a pause if you try to walk as fast as you can or time yourself. Instead, just walk at a pace that feels comfortable. Allow yourself to notice whatever is around you – flowers, clouds, how the breeze feels on your skin. Take this time to feel your body, and to appreciate being alive. You might tune in to a podcast as you walk. Do whatever works for you.
- During your mindful walk, thoughts will likely arise. You might find yourself thinking about whatever you are most stressed about. Do not try to push these thoughts away, because that just makes them even stronger. But do not get stuck in a loop of thinking about your problems, either – that would not be much of a pause. Notice the thoughts, then gently try to draw your awareness to the world around you, or to the sensations in your body. Use your breath to refocus your mind.
- Journaling can be very helpful in processing thoughts and emotions; it is a powerful mental health technique. It can assist with getting clarity on what you are really thinking and feeling. It is important to remember that whatever you write while you are journaling is only for you. No one else ever needs to read your journal. Just write whatever comes to you, and let the words flow freely without any editing. The process is intended for you to discover your own thoughts and emotions.
- If you enjoy music, you can include that in your pause time. You could turn on your favourite song. You might want to just listen to the music, allowing yourself to fully enjoy it, maybe appreciating the nuances that you might not have noticed before.
- When you are running low on energy, a 10-to-15-minute nap can be surprisingly refreshing. Even if you do not quite fully fall asleep, just allowing yourself to close your eyes and turn off for a few minutes can make a huge difference in how you feel for the rest of the day.
- There are many different forms of meditation, from breathing exercises to guided meditations to just sitting in silence. If you find a type of meditation that works well for you, this can be a fantastic way to take a pause. There are many different apps available that can teach you various forms of meditation, or you can search for meditation videos on YouTube.