I’ve been reading about mindfulness and stress reduction lately, trying to get my mind wrapped around how to bring this into everyday life without it feeling like another “rule” I needed to follow – I want an "easy button" for stress.
It’s funny how life steps in sometimes to help you see something new; I was stopped at a light in downtown traffic, and normally when I would have very efficiently kept up with the flow of traffic as it began to move, for some reason I paused. I can’t say why, but I did, and it was gently enough to ensure no one behind me was impacted, but long enough to keep me from rolling into the car in front of me as it unexpectedly slammed on it’s breaks. That pause saved me time, money and the stress of having to file an insurance claim (and an accident report…and get my car fixed).
It made me wonder where else a gentle pause would be beneficial in my life (could this be the "easy button")? I decided to experiment.
It turns out pausing has very tangible benefits for everyone. And I can say it has reduced my stress.
Gentle reminders for gentle pauses seems to be the "easy button", especially since I already have many more rigid reminders telling me what to do; my life (like many people’s) is full of prompts and pings, so one more felt like the proverbial straw that would break the camel’s back (my calendar reminding me where I am supposed to be and how long it will take to get there, my watch telling me to stand, or to breath deeply, every hour).
So, at the close of my workday I think back on one or two things I am grateful for in my working day, and when there has been a beneficial pause, that usually tops my list. In honouring my gentle pauses this way I find myself pausing more often ("easy button"), not because I have to, or because of reminders or notes telling me to do so, but because it has meaning for me; it just makes me feel better.
It’s a simple thing that is entirely in my control. One simple, discreet change that has rippled benefits out not just to me but all those around me too as I'm a more considerate human to others when I'm considerate to myself.
Want to know the biggest source of ambient stress in human lives today (and how to pause it)? This juicy tip is even more empowering than an "easy button".
Be kinder to yourself, you'll be AMAZED at the ripple effect and how it can reduce your stress for good.
Carleen was a supportive and encouraging presence throughout my coaching experience. I appreciated her intuitive and mindful approach, easy to understand analogies, and articulate way of presenting information to me in my program.