Monday, September 19, 2016

Pausing to reduce Stress and Anxiety

A fabulous stress reduction idea was created by meaning to pause®.  It's called the pause braclet.  It gives a "private but deliberate" reminder (by means of a gentle vibration) periodically to help people stay focused and present.  The reminder helps people to stay aware and perhaps take an inventory of where they are with their thinking, breathing, or behavior in the present moment.

Staying focused in the present is not an easy task, but with practice we can get better at it as time goes on.  There are many methods like the pause bracelet that can help us to bring our awareness to the present moment.

At the Zen monastery of Plum Village in the south of France--a monastery created by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh--there is something called The Bell of Mindfulness.  At the monastery, a bell tone is made periodically so everyone in the village can hear it and at which time they pause momentarily.  On their website they have posted,  "When we hear one of these mindfulness bells ring, we stop all of our conversations and whatever we are doing, and bring our awareness to our breathing.  The ringing bell has called out to us:  Listen, listen.  This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home."

The point is, that we can use many things throughout our day to nudge us a bit to take a moment and pause.  The sound of an airplane going overhead.  The ding of a new incoming email on our phone.  The sound of the engine in our car as we turn the key.

Reminders don't have to be just auditory, either.  They can be from a variety of our senses, such as each time we see a red light and slow our car to a stop.  Pause.  Each time we smell the aroma of our neighbor's fireplace.  Pause.  Each time we feel the warmth of clothes freshly being lifted from the dryer.  Pause.  When the cat meows.  When you hear a door close or open.  Pause.

You can decide what your "Mindfulness Bell", or bell(s) will be, but whatever they are, be sure they have associations for you with your willingness to pause for just a moment so that you can become aware of your true self, which only exists... right now.

Thanks to Eric Walker for his lovely photo - Pause