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Pause with Danielle North

Do you find your day is crammed from the moment you wake up? Perhaps you’re already checking emails over breakfast while you’re getting the kids off to school or squeezing in calls on your way to work? You’re not alone but being constantly switched on like this can wreak havoc with your stress levels and before you know it, you’re on a road to burn out.

Although burnout is a work-related medical condition, it isn’t just for high flying, over achievers. Anyone can experience the mental, physical and emotional symptoms of burnout that develop over time when you’re exposed to constant stress. When you’re super busy and feeling anxious all of the time, you can end up trying to firefight your way through days. Your stress levels keep rising, everything seems urgent, simple tasks feel impossible to achieve and you can quickly think you’re failing at life. It’s like your system jams, and you can’t find your flow.

There are ways to minimise this risk. You may often hear people talk about ‘living in the moment’. No, it’s not all about meditation or hippy-like activities. Simply put, being in the moment is just you taking a few seconds or minutes to slow down, Pause and recognise what’s happening at that exact time, so that you can reduce your anxiety and stress levels.

If you’re unsure of how to be ‘in the moment’, try these 3 simple Micro Pauses:

Micro Pause #1

Breathe Deeply

Often when we are rushed and busy our minds take over. It’s easy to become disconnected from the rest of your body when you’re ‘in your head’. The breath reconnects you to your body, reduces anxiety, and allows you to come back to the here and now.

For this Micro Pause you will breathe through your nose only. To begin, close your mouth and inhale in through your nose for a count of four, pause for two counts, then exhale out through your nose for a count of four, and pause for two counts. This is one complete cycle of breath.

Repeat the cycle ten times.

When you have completed the practice ten times, let your breathing return to its normal rhythm and notice how your mind and the nervous system has naturally calmed.

Micro Pause #2

Walk Slowly

At any point in the day you need to walk, you can do it consciously. Turn your smart phone to silent (even better switch it off!) and as you walk become aware of your pace. Are you in a hurry, is it possible to slow down? Become aware of your feet making contact with the ground and then begin to notice your breath, with every step you take deepen your inhale and gently extend your exhale. Now become aware of what is around you, people, traffic, nature what do you see?

Finally, as you walk more slowly, look for the space. Where can you see space between the people, traffic, nature? Scan for space at ground level, directly in front of you, and even above you. Continue to walk slowly, breathe deeply and scan around you for space. Notice how feel when you arrive at your destination.

Micro Pause #3

Love fully

One of the ways to return to connection is to feel love and gratitude. This Pause practice is best done at home, perhaps at the end of a busy day, or before you go to bed

Begin by sitting comfortably for a couple of minutes and observing where you are today. Notice how you are feeling. Observe the sensations you experience in your body. Become aware of your breathing and let it become easy and smooth.

Now place your right hand on your heart. Feel your heartbeat and become aware of your breath. As you connect with your heart, say your name silently to yourself and inwardly tell yourself what you are grateful for today.

When you are ready to finish put your left hand on your right arm, and your right hand on your left arm and giving yourself a big loving squeeze!

Pause is written by Danielle North

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