Pausing really is one of the best things we can do for ourselves during our days. We are in a constant state of going, moving from one thing to the next. What we don’t realize is that our minds and bodies need a break every once in a while! Simply by stopping for a few moments, we allow ourselves to reset and relax.
Starting the Day
One of the best times to pause is in the morning before we even get going! You can take a moment in bed or while making your coffee to be where you are. One of my favorite practices in the morning is to pause and feel my body breathing.
You don’t need to breathe in any special way. The wonderful meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg says that we’re already breathing, all we need to do is pay attention to it! As you are getting started with your day, take a moment to be with the body as it breathes. You may feel the breath in the stomach, in the chest, or at the nostrils. See if you can simply bring awareness to how it feels to be alive and breathing!
Another one of my favorite practices to do in the morning is to mindfully pause and set a healthy intention for the day. Maybe my intention is to exercise, connect with nature, or try to be forgiving with myself. Whatever your intention for the day is, it’s a great practice to stop and really tune into our deeper intentions for the day.
During Our Days
In the midst of the chaos of everyday life, we can take care of ourselves by stopping what we’re doing and taking a break. We may see this as lazy or self-indulgent, but it really is a radical act of self-care.
One of One Mind Dharma’s tips for practicing mindfulness in daily life is to pick an awareness trigger. This is something that happens pretty consistently in your daily life. It may be the sound of a phone ringing, changing from sitting to standing, or eating. Every time you do this activity, pause and really be mindful for it!
Another practice that can be helpful is setting reminders or alarms. Try setting an alarm every hour or two on your phone with the reminder to “pause.” When the reminder goes off, take that time to sit for a moment and be where you are. Don’t overcomplicate it!
Ending the Day
The end of the day is a great time to pause. Whatever your bedtime ritual is, add a few moments of slowing down. Maybe you watch some TV before bed, read a book, or take a bath. Add a few minutes of pausing and doing nothing to whatever your routine is!
Perhaps you can check in with the intention you set for the day. Maybe you take a bit of an inventory of the day and just recognize how your day went. This isn’t a practice of dwelling in our difficulties or the past, but really just being with whatever is present for us in our lives.
You can also end the day with a few minutes of breathing as well! Try a guided meditation for sleep or simply watch the breath to help settle the mind.
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