Our life is made up of moments and so often we miss so much of these little moments of our day because we are either focussed on the past, whats next or rushing through our current activity trying to keep up with a growing to do list.
This way of being in the world causes us to be reactive to our external world and the more we feel stressed the faster those reactions occur. When you’re not fully present the quality of your experience suffers and your stress levels can begin to gradually increase with a negative impact on your body and mind.
Being connected to present moment experience through mindfulness is a simple approach to life, it takes less energy, has a low emotional charge and softens the body and opens the mind. It's important to balance all the doing and high energy activity with some positive low energy time and space to resources yourself.
In Mindfulness Coaching & Counselling I invite clients to start formal meditation to help them establish a practice of being present. The formal practice allows them to begin to slow down to life as it unfolds and manage their attention and cultivate mindful attitudes. I've established a weekly support group to help you establish your mindfulness meditation practice that can also help. But there are also many informal ways to pause throughout the day and cue those mindful touch points and the mindful pause is one of them.
Todays blog will share some of the ways you can pause mindfully throughout your day and on the go. These practices are short, informal reminders that you can connect to the present moment experience in much the same you cultivate in your formal practice.
The mindful pause helps you take mindfulness meditation practice 'off the cushion' and into life where you can begin to start living mindfully. The mindful pause can be done anywhere and anytime and is a great antidote if you’re feeling stressed or activated or just in need of a quick reminder to slowdown and check in with yourself with self-care.
The Mindful Pause Strategies
1. When you arrive at a door take a few deeper breaths and turn your attention to your body acknowledging you have arrived somewhere new so be there fully in the body and breath.
2. When you experience a stressful situation and feel the body tense up, once you’re safe take a few deep breaths seeing if you can notice where in the body you might be holding onto that stress and bring your mindful attention to it.
3. Before you begin your meeting at work ask everyone to close their eyes, think of an intention for the meeting, letting go of whatever happened before and taking a few slower breaths to become fully present before you begin.
4. If you’re working long hours at a desk try taking periodical breaks to stand up and stretch. Breathe into the stretches exploring the sensations of stretching and giving yourself 5-10mins of breathing and stretching before returning to the desk.
5. During your workday try taking a walk outdoors in the park. Maybe you have a meeting or lunch break and can take a friend but walking is a great way to practice mindfulness and being outdoors in nature can be good for your health too.
6. Put a post it note on your office desk with a word that will remind you to breathe and be present.What word do you associate with mindfulness and wellbeing?
7. During tea time practice drinking your cuppa slowly, feeling into the warmth of the cup, exploring the sensations of touch, smell, taste, sight and sound as you do.
8. Have planning days or be aware of when you block out time for planning and write all your tasks or plans down so you don’t feel compelled to hold all that information in your mind and be thinking about plans for future.
9. Look up. During the day when you feel stressed or anxious look up to the sky and breathe. You’ll immediately feel more space.
10. Feel into your feet bringing your attention to the sensations of the feet on the ground. When the mind is flighty this can help you feel grounded.
The mindful pause is meant to be a playful way of connecting to self-care and the present moment. Once you have established a mindfulness meditation practice, the mindful pause becomes natural way to connect mindfulness throughout the day.