How to Incorporate Pause into Your Life

It was 9am on a Monday morning. My phone rang as I was just about to log onto my laptop. “Hello, is this Arul’s mom?” said the voice on the phone. “Yes, this is she,” my heart racing as I replied – thinking that perhaps my son was hurt or sick. “This is the VP of your son’s school. I am calling to inform you that your son had recorded a confession by another student that he had vandalized school property. Your son then gave the recording to his teacher but the boy’s mother denies that it’s her son’s voice. She is upset and wants to report the matter to the police.”

Within a space of a few seconds, this conversation had escalated to vandalism, confessions and the police! Words I definitely didn’t want associated with my 14-year-old son.

I could feel my heart beating hard and my mind racing with a million questions. But something came over me and I took a deep breath. I said to the VP,”Thank you for informing me. What do you need from me right now?”

There was a slight pause and he said, “Nothing at the moment. We just wanted to inform you.” I thanked the VP and said that he could call me if he needed any help from me.

What has this story got to do with Pause?

Listen to yourself

Pause is about taking a moment to connect with your self – regardless of where you are. It is to take a moment to acknowledge your feelings and thoughts. It is to enquire what is the one helpful step you can take in that moment.

Why is this important? Because we live in a distracted and fast-paced world. Exacerbated by our constant checking of Covid-19 news and the strain of blurred boundaries as we work from home. We are overwhelmed.

Distractions can diminish our ability to be present for ourselves and our loved ones. Over time we can feel tired, stressed or even angry. We may begin to lose perspective and are not showing up at our best for others.

But there are ways to reconnect with yourself and enlarge your perspective.

Here are tips to Pause in under 10 minutes:

  • Close your eyes, take a deep breath that fills your belly and slowly blow out through your mouth. Try to make your exhale slightly longer than your inhale. Repeat 10 times.
  • Write an email or text of appreciation to someone who made an impact on you. Research shows that gratitude creates a virtuous cycle and people who receive it tend to pass it on.
  • Go out and stand in nature barefoot. Look up to the sky and stretch out your hands. Simply being in nature can calm down our sympathetic nervous system.
  • Put down your phone and go for a walk. Break your cycle of “wired and tired”.