It is the beginning of December – the start of a very busy Christmas month for most of us. Christmas traditions like baking, cooking, decorating, partying that we want to (or should?) do at home and things that needs doing at work before the end of the year.
So, what can we do to avoid go through Christmas on autopilot, spending the days ticking of our to-do-lists and ending up collapsing in front of a screen at night? Most of us end up not really being there to enjoy the so-called Christmas spirit, which we are working so hard to be a part of, because in our minds we are constantly somewhere else but the present. Always thinking about what else needs to be done and worrying about if we will make it on time and if so is it “good enough”?
As an early Christmas gift, Thriving Life would like to give you one simple tool, that you can use in order to become a little more present this Christmas; the gift of taking pauses. PAUSE is a simple mindfulness tool that will help you take 2-5 minutes out of your busy life to simply be. To take a PAUSE means to just sit (or stand) and take stock of what is going on inside of you right now, of what is happening around you, of how the breath feels like in your body, what thoughts and emotions you are feeling in this moment and finally considering how to continue your day with more awareness and kindness.
Why? Let’s start by referring to a study done at Harvard University. 2,250 volunteers were send a message at random intervals during the day asking what they were doing, where their mind was and how happy they were. The result showed that the less present the people were, the unhappier they were; a wandering mind seems to be an unhappy mind.
Then there are all the physical advantages of taking a pause: It gives your body and mind a break to step out of the fight-flight mode, to rest and re-generate. It decreases stress and regulate the body´s level of the stress hormone cortisol. And through repetition, we train our mind to become more present and mindful. As Dr. Rick Hanson says, we are hardwiring the brain to happiness (see his book, Hardwiring Happiness). We start to notice more and become aware of all the little things that will make our everyday life so much richer.
So here it is, a 3-step PAUSE practice so simple that you do not need a guided voice to follow it. We have, however, also included a 5-min recorded MP3 version, if you prefer to be guided and maybe to get you started. And finally, we are also giving you the PAUSE practice as a picture ready to download and set as a background photo on your phone. It will work as a perfect reminder to PAUSE during this busy season and beyond.
What is going on in the body and mind?
Just being with the breath
3. CARRY ON
Responding with awareness and kindness
Enjoy your PAUSES!