Week 1: A Pause A Day
Purposeful pauses interrupt the fog that gathers when we’re on autopilot. But they do take some practice. Remembering to take a pause is truly the hardest part. Little by little, you will begin to quickly notice when you are not being present. And as you become more comfortable with it, you’ll find your own ways to experiment with purposeful pauses to support you during even the most chaotic days.
1. Choose some activity that you do every day—putting on sunscreen, for example, or making a coffee.
2. Be present for the activity. Each day when you put on your sunscreen, or make/buy your coffee, make it a purposeful pause by staying focused on the activity—notice the sounds in the morning, the smell of coffee, feel the weight of your feet on the ground, the air on your skin, the colors of the walls, the people you pass. Notice them, but don’t get carried away by them.
3. Be kind to your wandering mind. Each time your mind tries to carry you into the future or the past with to-do lists, planning for tomorrow, or judgments, redirect your attention to the present moment, the experience of walking to your desk or filling your water bottle. This redirection brings you back to the present moment, the only moment you can affect.
Taking time to notice the present moment and redirect your mind back to the present when it wanders, trains your brain to recognize when you’ve defaulted to acting on autopilot. As you engage in this mind training on a daily basis, you will begin to notice how often you are not being present for your life. And in that noticing lies the seeds for choosing to do something different. This quick and easy mindfulness practice will allow you to bring sunshine into even the grayest of days.