Mindful Pause…

pause 2

I love the Mindful Pause because it is so easy to adapt to anything happening in our life right now, the good, the bad and the indifferent!  Some call it the STOP practice but I got the idea of the mindful pause from the Bringing Up Great Kids program, ACF, and I love the concept.

With a mindful pause, we hit the pause button on whatever we are doing, check in with our body ( I like to focus on my feet, wriggle my toes), let a long breath out (or 3-5 breaths), check in with our thoughts & feelings- ask what would be useful right now?, and then hit the play button…

It’s that simple and yet so hard to remember to do! Sometimes I wear my watch on the wrong hand or a piece of jewellery I’m not used to or I use a mindfulness bell on my phone…

What I love about all the brain research is that just one long breath out can help our amygdala; our fight, flight or freeze response, to calm down one notch, 3-5 breaths even more….so the mindful pause is perfect for when I am feeling a strong negative emotion building up…I use the pause before I react – it helps me to respond in a different way or I can use it afterwards to calm down quicker….

Recently though I learnt from Tara Brach how important it is to breathe in our good moments. We are programmed to focus on the negative for our survival and we tend to skim the positive…so a mindful pause is a great thing to do when you are experiencing a good moment; a hug, a sunset, the moon rising, a smile, a laugh, good news, a good conversation….really breathe it in and allow your brain to soak in those feel good hormones…

The more we know about the brain the more we realise that it is like a muscle (Ruby Max – Mindfulness for the Frazzled – great book!) – whatever you focus on that part of the brain builds more grey matter & more connections – so practicing the mindful pause daily helps it to become the habitual thing you do….when things are good & not so good!

I find it works best to attach this practice to something that will help me remember – traffic lights, roundabouts, walking under a particular doorway, making a cup of tea, looking in the mirror , washing your hands- which one will work for you?   I think I’ll do the cup of tea and washing my hands! 🙂

90 Second Breathing Space – for a longer mindful pause…
This is from a fantastic book called Mindfulness for Creativity – by Dr Danny Penman – if you have 90 seconds to do a recorded practice – at anytime during the day – it expands just a little on the mindful pause – but the same concept – focus on body – breath – thoughts & feelings… perfect for a quick pause right now from the screen!?!?

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