By Marti Glenn PhD
Use our P.A.U.S.E. tools to create a better life.
We are standing at the gateway of opportunity – ready to create more compassionate, more satisfying, and more productive lives for ourselves, our families, our businesses, and our communities. We are ready to embrace self-confidence and meaningful connections.
Science has given us the principles and tools to do this. To clear the clouds of the past, strengthen our gifts, and create connections to support the new world that’s emerging.
It’s time to move from chaos and fear to a more meaningful life. Below are the principles, tools, and experiences needed to do just that. Science tells us that to create lasting change we must do more than learn facts. We must have authentic experiences.
It requires some intentional action on our part to have these experiences, such as fully participating in the questions below, deeply exploring each one, and journaling your thoughts. With this, we can begin to create regular practices that will help change the brain, grow the nervous system, and move toward what is calling us now. These practices are designed to help us move from fear to love, from chaos to connection.
Mindfulness and the Pause
Creating a better life for ourselves and a better world for all begins with strengthening our own capacity for kindness and compassionate action. This is best supported by a foundation of personal mindfulness. As we slow down and become more mindful, we can see further. This broader perspective allows us to take action that will not only serve our needs but can support meaningful connections and compassionate change.
Mindfulness involves the capacity to PAUSE. In my last blog, I talked about the power of “PAUSE”. Let’s explore this word a bit more. I like to think of the word pause as an acronym that can help us increase mindfulness — P.A.U.S.E.:
P = Practice Mindfulness
A = Take Action
U = Improve Understanding
S = Increase Self-care
E = Experience Empathy
The P in PAUSE = Practice Mindfulness
Within mindful awareness, we can separate from the chatter, the chaos, the negative voices, the fears, and the pressures. What is, just is. This temporary separation allows us to view things differently. We’re no longer on automatic pilot. With a pause and awareness, we now have a choice.
Deep listening or checking in with ourselves multiple times a day is one of the skills that give us ongoing experiences of mindfulness. Take a breath, focus inside and ask, “How am I doing? What do I need right now?” It doesn’t take much time to pause, breathe, and check in. And it gives us more energy and more focus.
From here we gain a larger perspective and cultivate more compassion so we can actively engage with what’s arising within. Our current selves may be unprepared for all that’s emerging now. There may be old habits, patterns, or ways of thinking that no longer serve us. Practicing “the pause,” deep listening, and ongoing mindfulness will help discern the current situation and make better choices moment to moment.
- What mindfulness practices might I deepen, or try for the first time right now?
- A few include yoga, Qi Gong, progressive relaxation, meditation, walking meditation, breathwork, journaling, and sensory exercises. See what appeals and add to your daily routine—starting now.
The benefits of practicing mindfulness are clear
- Emotional regulation
- Reduced anxiety
- Lowered stress
- Improved overall physical health
- Better memory
- More satisfying relationships
- Capacity for better judgment
- More effective decision making
The A in PAUSE = Action, Ask and Actualize
Mindfulness creates the ability to take action, ask for what we want, and actualize our dreams. From this place, we can do the small things that give us pleasure. We can create a foundation of self-care that allows us to gain support, use our gifts, and create what’s needed now.
- What action do I need to take to experience more satisfaction right now?
- Where do I need to say no?
- What boundaries with certain people and/or my time do I need to hold?
- What do I need to ask for? More space, more alone time, to be more fully considered?
- What is ready to actualize within me, in my life right now?
- What gifts do I bring that are ready to be given?
The U in PAUSE = Understand and Unfold from the inside
With awareness of the present moment, we begin to understand we are not perfect, no one is. We understand that we are on a journey, learning and growing. Having self-compassion allows us to see mistakes as steppingstones.
Our journeys are full of roadblocks and detours. Those around us, including our families and friends, have done and are doing the best they can with what they have at the moment. Knowing this can help create compassion and free us to use our precious energy for creating a healthy and satisfying life.
- Where do I need to bring more understanding in my life? More patience for myself or others?
From this place of understanding, we can recognize our gifts and begin to unfold from the inside. Unfolding is like watching a flower begin to bloom. Small and delicate at first, then as it is nurtured, the bud moves toward the light, reaching its full potential. Practicing the pause naturally supports the move toward blossoming into the beauty we are now and are meant to be.
- What are the flowers that might be unfolding in me now?
- What gifts may be ready to blossom?
- What inside me needs a little encouragement and support to bloom?
The S in PAUSE = Safety and Self-Care
Through deep listening and the mindful pause, we’re able to discern when we’re safe in a situation. When I talk about safety, I mean feeling emotionally safe, knowing that who I am and how I show up, is enough and what I have to offer is welcome here. It’s okay for me to make mistakes and ask for what I want.
- Where and with whom in my current life do I feel safe?
- What are the relationships, the situations, where I don’t feel safe enough to truly be myself?
- What might I do to create even a bit more safety in my life right now?
From this place, we can make better decisions and hold good boundaries.
Self-care is paramount in traversing turbulent times, shifting our lives as needed, and reaching our goals. Self-care means making good decisions for ourselves and doing things for ourselves in the moment: eating well, exercising, taking a break when we need it, forgiving ourselves when we make a mistake, and reaching out for support.
Lack of self-care creates stress that leads to ill health on many levels. Plus, personal power and satisfying relationships depend on taking good care of ourselves.
- How could I practice better self-care?
- What do I want?
- What do I need now?
- What would serve me best today?
- What might I do to go a step further in making myself, and my needs, a priority?
- Where do I need to ask for support right now?
- How can I guard my time better, making sure I have time for “me?”
The E in PAUSE = Empathy and Express
When we pause and check inside ourselves, we can naturally have empathy for our own shortcomings and the mistakes of others. We can express gratitude as we notice what’s good, and what’s working well.
- Where am I critical or hard on myself and need to show more empathy?
- What situation in my current relationships might benefit from more expressions of empathy and understanding?
- What am I grateful for today?
- How will I express my gratitude now?
9 Practices for P.A.U.S.E.
Below are some simple ways to help you move from where you are now to more personal power and love. And they take very little time, just intention and awareness. Subtle and sometimes very obvious benefits become noticeable by intentionally beginning to bring them into your daily awareness and consciously practicing them.
- Slow down. Pause. Take a breath.
- Notice what you notice. Become more and more mindful, track your awareness, notice when you become more settled or more activated.
- Ground your body; bring yourself into the present moment. The kids call this a “body read-out.” Feel where your body touches the chair as you are sitting. Sense your feet on the floor, or wherever they are. Notice your heartbeat. Follow your breath.
- Heart-Focused Breathing. Follow your breath all the way in and all the way out. Place a hand on your heart and make the exhale a little longer than the inhale. Imagine your breath is a beam of light coming through your heart. Exhale tension or any darkness you might be experiencing. Inhale light into your heart. Exhale darkness. Tell yourself some positive statement, like: “Right now, I’m okay. Or, I’m grateful for ….” Use this anytime you want to feel better but especially when you are becoming agitated.
- Monitor your thoughts, watch your language. Notice “shoulds.” Are you spinning in negative thinking? When you notice you are about to go down that alley, take a breath and replace the negative, fear-based thoughts with something that brings you back into the moment. Try something like: “Right now, I’m okay!” or, “This is not my problem. There’s nothing I can do about it right now.”
- Self-care. Ask yourself, “What am I needing right now?”
- Resourcing. A simple, life-changing practice: The two-minute Vagal Nurturing helps grow the Vagus Nerve, calm the nervous system, and bring a state of instant calm and well-being. You can watch a short video by Dr. Marti Glenn talking about vagal nurturing and how to practice it.
- Journal your thoughts and feelings. Allow whatever needs to be released to find its way to the page.
- Establish a practice of gratitude. As you go about your day, focus on what is good, what is beautiful, what is working, and the small things you feel grateful for. Make a list in your journal before you go to sleep.
Make some notes now about some of the resources you will use and the processes you will begin to adopt for yourself. As you incorporate these into your daily experience you will notice greater calm, more satisfaction, deeper connections with others, and more love.
There is no clear operating manual for this new time. We do know, however, that this new world is based on compassion and love. Being in partnership with other seekers, activated by spirit, we awaken the heart to express our uniqueness and our creativity. We become co-creative in finding our love, our passion, and our gifts. In this, we step into and own our full power.
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