The world around us is fast-paced and many people have resolved to this as their reality. Expectations other put on us we own without question, definitions of success set by someone other than ourselves, dreams imposed upon us that aren’t really our own dreams, and the need for instant gratification spiraling out of control. Why do we allow this and keep riding the speeding train we have called our life?

There are so many factors to answering this question and variations by person, but I have a solution to your sanity and a way to live your life more fully. The key is to stop. Stop saying yes to everything, stop neglecting your health, stop living blindly, stop placing your value in the hands of society, stop wearing your chaotic life like a badge of honor, stop ignoring the beautiful world around you, stop complaining, just stop. Living nonstop is impossible no matter how perfect and resilient you think you are. Eventually, you will exhaust your performance potential and come to a standstill unless you practice rest to replenish your reserves.

Pause to reevaluate your priorities and adjust goals. Frantic daily life and routine can push you off track. We are busy making our way towards a certain goal, but our priorities may shift, and our personal values change. Consciously taking pause provides a chance to review where you’re headed and what you’re doing, looking at yourself from the outside and from within.

Pause to eliminate what no longer serves you. We tend to fill our lives with things and connections that no longer fulfill or benefit us. This can build up over time and restrict our growth and progress. Taking time to eliminate these will provide you with a sense of freedom and lightness. Pull back from one-sided relationships, purge physical items, update routines, let go of limiting beliefs, etc. Heal and create balance by letting go.

Pause to allow yourself to restore your strength, balance, & renewal. Our energy is not immune to depletion and being constantly busy and buried under problems sucks out our life force. It is very important to replenish your energy for yourself and others. Short pauses are the easiest way to do this in a maintenance situation but if you have waited so long it has reached a critical level, you will need to invest more time until you come back to a balance. You will notice how much easier it is to handle those little annoyances when you are in that maintenance stage.

Pause to regain your love of life and the world around you. We are meant to live life not just exist and all you need is to open your eyes and realize this is what’s real, without any distraction or information noise. Allow yourself to stop and smell the roses – look at the sky, breathe in the fresh air, listen to wildlife all around you, enjoy your coffee with the warmth of sunlight on your face during a sunrise, or allow yourself to feel cleansed by a rainfall. Love your life and live it fully!

Pause to reignite your desires. Take in a new perspective of the world around you, including current situations, and allow yourself to be inspired. The emotional uplift allows you to reach for new desires and discover or rediscover your purpose. These pauses help you avoid emotional and psychological burnout by being compassionate with yourself for veering off track where you have done so and getting back on track. Maybe even some hobbies have fallen by the wayside and picking them back up creates that sense of joy within you.

There are many benefits to pausing, embracing balance, and having compassion for yourself. Physically, your body’s sympathetic nervous system is overstimulated which can lead to illness, chronic issues, and death. Taking a break engages your parasympathetic nervous system which is your rest and repair state. You will digest better, sleep better, find you have more patience, handle small annoyances easier, feel more joy, and find a balance right for you.

Some Ways to Practice Pause

  1. Breathe
    • Close your eyes and breathe intentionally. Inhale for a count of 4, hold for 2, exhale for a count of 6, hold for 2. Repeat as many times as you need to. You will engage your parasympathetic nervous system, bring yourself into the present moment, calm your mind, and sharpen your focus. This is something easy to do while sitting at your desk, waiting in line, first thing in the morning, right before falling asleep, riding in an elevator, and many more opportunities throughout your day. Take a moment, or several moments, to pause today and breathe.
  2. Mindful of Nature
    • Take a moment as you sip on your morning coffee to admire the sunrise, trees, birds, and morning air. Take a moment before walking into your workplace and really look at the sky, clouds, and wildlife. Take a moment in the evening to allow the sunset to usher you into rest while you wait for the moon. Take a moment during a rainstorm to allow it to wash away your worries. Every moment is an opportunity to admire nature and allow her to bring peace to your soul.
  3. Gratitude
    • Most people are not in the habit of giving thanks or having gratitude. If someone asks you at the end of the day how your day was, do you jump to what went wrong or something else negative? Force yourself to pause and look at what went well or who you are grateful for. Start exercising this muscle and create stronger neuropathways so next time someone asks how your day went, you have so much more positive responses. In addition to becoming a happier more positive person, studies show thankfulness releases a hormone called dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S). These hormones counteracted the stress hormone Cortisol. We are able to think more creatively and problem solve better as the negative impact of cortisol is reduced. Exercise your gratitude muscle!
  4. Journaling
    • Journaling can include gratitude and drive behaviors of connecting more with friends and family. It can also be very therapeutic to explore who you are right now, your priorities, your goals, dreams, and manifestations. Journaling allows you to focus on yourself for this period of time you have allocated to pause from your busy life. Rediscover yourself and write.
  5. Silence
    • Taking time for silence restores the nervous system, helps sustain energy, and conditions our minds to be more adaptive and responsive to the complex environments in which so many of us now live, work, and lead. Silence lowers blood pressure, reduces cortisol, calms thoughts, stimulates brain growth, improves focus, and much more. Turn off all technology, and just sit in silence, using noise cancelling headphones if necessary. Overstimulation is a chronic issue, and this simple pause will amaze you in its results.

My wish for this new year is for more people to become more aware of their world around them and prioritize themselves. I want to see more joy in the people that pass me every day because I hold joy in my heart. May this year be one of balance, self-care, and happiness. Namaste.