What if I told you that you could change your life in just ten seconds? True story. And what if I told you that all I want you to do in these seconds is to pause. Nothing else. Just a slow and deliberate pause, stopping in the middle of the noise and stress of your day.
If you’re thinking this seems rather simple, it is. And it isn’t.
Did you know that humans have 60,000 thoughts a day? That’s 2,500 thoughts an hour! Whaaat? Combine that with the demands of your job, relationships, family schedules, health concerns, the pile of laundry that needs to be done, and the exercise regimen you’re trying to stick to…that’s a lot to manage. As humans, we tend to shuffle from one thing to the next, without a breath or a break or a moment to regroup.
While I know pausing doesn’t sound that difficult, humor me as I provide a little instruction. Sit back, hands relaxed. Take a slow mindful breath, in through your nose, out through your mouth. Pause, and don’t do anything else. Let your body relax and your brain rest. Just be still. Stay in that stillness for at least ten seconds, though feel free to stay a little longer if you like.
This pause gives us a chance to ground ourselves in the moment, slowing down our brains and bodies. This gives us an opportunity to put a period on one moment before we begin the next. It’s a small act that makes a huge difference.
How effective can we really be in our lives if we don’t know how to stop and pause? How engaged and productive can we really be when frantically go from one thing to the next without ever slowing down to even get our bearings?
Can you really help your kids with their homework when you’ve just set down your bags and finished up a phone call? Take a 10-second pause before you try. Breathe.
You’ve been rushing around all morning, hitting every red light on the way to work. How present can you really be in your morning meeting? Sit back at the start of the meeting and pause. It will help you regroup and refocus.
Can you really communicate effectively with your partner when your anger and hurt are bubbling up? Probably not. Take a breath before you speak. Pause.
While taking a 10-second pause isn’t always the most convenient activity, I’m convinced it’s crucial for our emotional health. So try pausing a few times today. And then a few more tomorrow. You might even want to put a note on your desk or on your refrigerator, as creating new habits can be hard at first. This act of pausing gets easier with practice and even more beneficial as your body settles into the comfort that this practice provides.
My challenge to you today is to try this intentional pause a few times today. No matter how silly or simple it seems, try it. You won’t regret it.
PS: If you haven’t yet seen this video, PLEASE take a few moments to watch it. This post will mean so much more after you watch it!