The Power of Pause

We check our text messages, our news feed, and our emails regularly throughout the day but how often do we pause to check ourselves? When we do in fact make time to pause, we often feel guilty for not being busy or productive in Every. Given. Moment. This leads to a myriad of negative consequences such as unhappiness, anxiety, and disconnect. Research shows that the mind wanders 47% of the time. That means that we spend almost half of our lives not being here, not being present. Research also shows that people are substantially happier when paying attention to what they’re doing. One of the most effective vehicles for transformation in this regard, is mindfulness.

Our day-to-day activities offer ample opportunities to call up mindfulness in any moment. These simple practices will breathe The Pause into your daily routines.

Mindful wakeup – setting the scene

If you let cloudy water settle it will become clear. If you let your upset mind settle, your course will also become clear.” -Fake Buddha

We often start our day with turbulent thoughts which escalate as our day progresses and we stir the waters of our mind. Setting an intention to bring mindfulness into the very first moments of your day is a lovely, gentle way to set the tone for the hours to come.

When you wake up in the morning, you can spend a few minutes checking in with yourself. Sit in your bed in a relaxed posture with a straight, non-rigid spine. Explore how you feel. What emotions are there? Do you feel any physical sensations; are you tired or alert? Observe your thoughts without judging them. Give it your full attention and acceptance regardless of how it appears. The goal is not to achieve any particular feeling, thought or state. It’s merely to observe what’s happening in the present moment. Each time the mind wanders and thoughts arise, practice gently bringing it back with compassion, acceptance and non-judgment.

Mindful breathing

It only takes a reminder to breathe, a moment to be still and just like that, something in me settles, softens, makes space for imperfection.” -Danna Faulds

Breathing is something the body does automatically. We rarely stop to think about it, but we should. Mindfulness of breath helps to anchor us in the present moment as opposed to wandering down the proverbial garden path.

Take long, deep, nourishing breaths regularly throughout your day—breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Then let your breath settle into its own rhythm, as you simply follow it in and out, noticing the rise and fall of your chest and belly as you breathe. Feel free to place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly to heighten your awareness. It can be hard to stay in the present.  As long as you stay curious and aware of the breath instead of trying to breathe perfectly each time, it may lead to something softening in you too.

Mindful showering

“Water does not resist. Water flows.” -Margaret Atwood (The Penelopiad)

A shower is one of the best times and places to practise self-care through meditation. It’s generally quiet, private, and free of interruptions. It’s a simple solution to a lack of time or space for other mindfulness methods.  Mindful showering entails having a conscious awareness of your showering experience.

Listen to the hissing of the shower head when you turn on the shower and to the sound the hundreds of drops make as the water hits the shower curtain, screen, or tiles. Pay attention to the feel of the water on your skin as you step in. Notice the changes in temperature as you adjust it, how each drop feels as it makes contact. Put some soap on a sponge and inhale the aroma deeply. Watch the water as it trickles down the screen and make its way to the drain. Visualise washing away you stress. Envision the power of the water washing away your negative thoughts. Feel the negativity rushing right off you. Let it all go down the drain. Feel lightness in your body. Enjoy the clarity of your mind as you ready yourself for a fresh start and new beginning.

Mindful eating

“Eating is not only nourishing for the body, but also for the mind.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Even on the most demanding days we still need to make time to eat, which provides the perfect opportunity for us to incorporate mindfulness in the moments we need it the most. Too often we are guilty of eating at our desks while cramming in some admin. Mindful eating can help us practice becoming more mindful about how we fuel our bodies.

Resist the urge to multi-task while you eat. When you eat, be present with your food. Pay attention to each bite that you’re taking. Chew your food slowly and savour the taste. Notice your body’s signals about when you’re getting full and pay more attention to what’s on your plate. When you become more intentional about what you’re eating, you’ll be better equipped to focus on fuelling your body with the nutrition it needs.

Walking, gardening, household chores and many other day-to-day activities can be opportunities to practice mindfulness. We simply have to perform them with a heightened sense of awareness. This means focusing on the present moment, tuning into physical sensations, being fully aware of everything we do, and letting go of anxiety over the future or thoughts of the past. Neuroplasticity has taught us that what we practice grows stronger. We are growing something in every moment, which leads to the question: What do you want to grow? Wherever you are, be all there.



Parneet Pal, Carley Hauck, Elisha Goldstein, Kyra Bobinet, and Cara Bradle – 5 Simple Mindfulness Practices for Daily Life

Shauna Shapiro – The power of mindfulness: what you practise grows stronger

Monique Tallon – 10 Simple Ways to Practise Mindfulness in Our Daily Life