Do you feel like you are just going through the motions most days?
Has autopilot become your preferred mode?
It’s so easy to get caught up in our schedules and daily routines. The more we just go
through the motions, the more lose sight of mindfulness. We’ve talked before about the many
benefits of mindfulness but did you know that taking mindful pauses through the day can
actually help you reset mentally?
Here are 4 ways you can take a mindful pause to help manage stress and move forward
A mindful person is an active listener. Most of us know there is a world of difference
between hearing your spouse or boss at work and actually listening to them. Hearing a person
is passive and listening is active. Look for the meaning of what the other person is trying to
convey? What can you learn from them? Search for something special about that person. This
will curb the temptation to judge people immediately and create a negative view of the world
around you. A negative view of the world around us leads to higher stress levels and
dissatisfaction with our lives.
The most popular technique for a mindful pause is a breathing exercise. I find it helpful
to sit and close my eyes but it is not necessary. Tune into your breathing. Focus on filling your
lungs through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat for 10 –15 seconds or
as long as you need, to feel calm and at peace. This technique has become popular because
you can practice this anywhere. You can be standing in an elevator, in line at the grocery store
or at your desk. Give it a shot next time you need to be at your best.
We all know we have 5 senses. Our senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch) are
constantly feeding information to our brain. We rarely pay any attention to that information
unless something unpleasant occurs like a bad odor when you enter a room or you put your
hand on a stove and even then, it is an automatic response. This method for a mindful pause
involves utilizing your senses.
This can also be done anytime and anywhere. A great time to practice this method is
during your next meal. Take a slow deep breath to smell the food, really look at your meal, and
feel the food as you chew slowly. I recently took to a trip to the High Country of North Carolina. I
definitely noticed the chill in the air outside and the warmth from the fireplace indoors. I also
recall the sound of leaves crunching beneath my feet and the sweet aroma on the trails. As I
walked the trails, I began breathing deeper and slower so I could draw in more of that sweet
mountain air. Walking the trail had a soothing and calming effect that lasted for days.
There are many ways to take a mindful pause. These are just a few to get you started.
To be successful with these techniques you have to be intentional. Use them at times that you
want to be at your best. Incorporate some of these techniques into your morning routine. Use
one of these techniques during a transitional part of your day. Don’t overlook the power of
mindfulness when it comes to your mental wellness!