The Value & Ease of "Pressing Pause"



Feeling stressed out? Press pause.

What does it really mean to practice mindfulness, be present, focus on the here and now, observe your breath, notice your thoughts, take a pause from doing, and be self aware enough so you can choose how to act under stress, instead of react in ways you regret?  Sometimes these concepts seem like just another thing to do in an already compressed and busy day.

As a psychotherapist, yoga teacher, and mindfulness meditator/practitioner, I still experience a sense of being overwhelmed by family challenges, demands from work, regrets, and the stress from feeling “should upon.”  I don’t have all the answers, but here is what I know for sure. I know that I am not perfect. I know that I am not immune from suffering, life’s stressors, and unanticipated challenges. I know that I cannot change someone else, as much as I may try!  I know that life is impermanent and has its own forward momentum; sometimes I am responsible for its direction and sometimes I am not.

I also know that if I periodically pause, throughout the day, take a deep breath or two, and notice where I am in that moment, I feel better and live with greater self control, even in times of stress.

Perhaps give it a try, right now. Just pause.  On the count of one, take a big inhale through the nose, feeling your chest expand; on the count of two, exhale slowly through the mouth, feeling a sense of letting go. Inhale on the count of three; slowly exhale on the count of four. Do this until you count to ten. Repeat this practice as many times as you like, and when you are done, step back, and notice how you feel.

Yoga, conscious breathing, and meditation practices offer a structure for developing body awareness, a necessary skill for regulating your emotional state and mindfully managing your stress.

If you haven’t already signed up for the Mindful Stress Management workshop at REACH Yoga, please do. I will be facilitating this on Saturday, April 19, from 1-3pm, to help you find freedom in stress. Hope to see you there.

With kind regards,

Becky Strauss, MSW, LSW, RYT

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