The Mindful Pause is perhaps one of the best mindfulness exercise most people don’t know.
Mindfulness research clearly shows meditations and mindfulness practices can help but the quantity of meditation choices these days seems infinite and focused mainly on the seated meditation or the walking version.
However, when I have spoken to people who do ‘mindfulness’ I get the feeling that they are always on the lookout for new tools to overcome challenges, find peace, and be at their best. One such technique that is often not used that much is The Mindful Pause.
It has a simple two steps process that incorporates an element of mindfulness but adds in something that usually is set aside when seated. A question. This is the two-step process:
1.) Firstly, you pause and feel your in-breath and your out-breath for 10-15 seconds.
2.) Secondly, you conclude the ‘pause’ with a question: Which of my character strengths will I bring forward right now?
The Mindful Pause is a tool that every meditator can use at one time or another, whether it’s to get ready for a meeting or to use in a challenging situation.
When I practice The Mindful Pause, especially when I know that I have a challenging day ahead, I feel more focused and energized. I know that the pause creates the space for my character strength of perspective to emerge and I quickly reframed my view of the situation. I looked to the bigger picture of live when I felt irritated and I join the conversation rather than stewing in discomfort and wishing the situation to pass.
When I use the pregnant pause, many strengths emerge such as humility and curiosity, but another key one is self-regulation. When self-regulation emerges, I give extra attention to observe and manage my emotions. I self-regulate my attention by following my breath in and out.
Through the mindful pause I also find that I become present, and when the situation is challenging, I find that bravery and perseverance become the key character strengths that emerge and I feel more confident and self-assured.
Pausing to slowly breathe and re-orient to the present moment enables us to become fully available for the coming conversation. The character strength of self-regulation often arises and we then call forth our core skills to help us maintain a focus that is free from distractions.
Use the Mindful Pause next time you find yourself in a challenging see and just see how powerful it can actually be.