Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Purposeful Pause

Today I was on a call with Tim Kelley and Chris Taylor of the True Purpose Institute. The topic was the "purposeful pause," something we all need, but many of us fail to do properly.

What is this exactly? A purposeful pause is a moment or breath or pleasurable activity we consciously do to take care of ourselves. It could even represent a long period of rest, recuperation, or reflection, following a difficult life experience or transition.

Of course there are all kinds of things we unconsciously do to catch a break, like zone out in front of the television for hours, play computer games, overeat, oversleep, smoke, drink, gamble, etc., but these are better examples of escapism than purposeful moments of self-nurturing.

Why do we do it?

We modern Americans (and others) have gotten into the unhealthy habit of running ourselves into the ground and then zoning out, behaving compulsively, or getting sick. So many of us race around like chickens with our heads cut off, saying things like, "It's been crazy lately!" We've come to equate "busy" with important or hardworking or loyal. We pack in too many tasks and activities, and forget to stop and smell the roses.

What we don't always understand is that this mindset is ultimately less productive, less satisfying, and less dignified than slowing down and taking a more balanced and conscious approach to our lives and our well-being. If you've ever suffered from a stress-related illness or injury, you know how important it is to find a better way of managing your life.

This week, I invite you to consider what your purposeful pauses are, or could be. Maybe you're already enjoying a regular exercise program that makes you feel great, or taking time to stop and take deep, restorative breaths several times a day. Maybe allowing for an occasional nap or planning a weekly nature walk would improve your health and increase your productivity. Even doing consciously something that you usually do unconsciously can transform it into a healthy and purposeful pause.

Good luck, and have a great week.