60 Seconds A Day

concentration diffuse mode diffuse thinking focused mode focused thinking mindfulness take a break Jan 05, 2022
Taking a break from work

How Can I Push Pause?

“Hey, I just need a minute, here!” 

We can all acknowledge just how busy and hectic life can get. Our jobs had deadlines and multiple projects, our kids have extracurricular activities which sometimes even lead us out of town, and then there are our own commitments – the gym, meeting with friends, choir practice, doctor’s appointments.

When we are juggling all of the things it can feel overwhelming, exhausting and sometimes just plain uncertain as to where to start sometimes. With the multitude of responsibilities, where do we fit ourselves in?

How in the world do we even find a minute, just one, 60-second time slot just for ourselves?


I know a little something about taking a pause.   Sometimes by taking a deep, slow breath, a bath, a walk, meditating, or going on retreat. But in the midst of my own process, I hadn’t seen that what I was experiencing was also a pause—taking a break to question, to reset, and to reconnect with myself. To quiet the constant doing in order to see what newly draws my interest and curiosity.

Sometimes my pauses are to reflect on how my work can be more inclusive and consider how I am addressing pressing mental health issues. These pauses can be taken many times throughout the day – to be mindful about what we are doing so that we are focused and present.

 

The Human Brain Functions in Two Modes:

 

 

Focus Mode: When you are concentrating and working towards a specific objective, you are in focus mode.

Diffuse Mode: Refers to a more relaxed state that you retain when not working or at rest.

The most obvious assumption is that you would be most effective at problem-solving when you are focused, but it actually isn’t!  

A wide variety of research (oh, how I love research) suggests that more sections of the brain are active during Diffuse Mode.  That’s right!  When you are relaxing! 

Remember when you couldn’t remember the woman next door’s daughter-in-law’s name?   You concentrated so hard about that woman’s name, throwing out ideas and suggestions and it was on the tip of your tongue.  The moment you returned to washing the dishes, the name just popped up into you memory!  That’s Diffuse Mode.

Another advantage of taking a break while working is that breaks provide an opportunity to step back and analyze the work you’ve already done.  This is a great way to ensure you are doing a job correctly.  You can get lost in the intricacies of the task that may not even be relevant but again, once you step back, you can return to the task more thoughtfully to review the work done so far to ensure everything is in order.

 

A Minute a Day

What would it be like if you had some strategies to find that 60-seconds each day for you?  To calm your mind from the swirling thoughts, the multitude of tasks you feel you have to get done, and the multiple items on your to do list. 

Imagine having 60-seconds to press the reset button, to feel more in control and ground yourself in the present moment. Practice is key and the more we practice ‘a minute a day” the easier it becomes. 

We can all relate to the immediate gratification we get from social media, being able to flick past a post we are not interested in, scroll as quickly or slowly as we desire or not have to watch commercials any longer with the likes of YouTube, Netflix or the PVR.  YOU HAVE THE POWER at your fingertips to hit pause, rewind, fast-forward, you can slow things down or speed them up. As humans we also have the ability to do this with our thoughts, many times subconsciously. We can slow down or even stop our thoughts from going into overdrive by hitting pause, becoming present in the moment, by switching our attention to those swirling thoughts in our minds and practicing 1-minute, 60-seconds of intentional recognition. 

Grounding yourself with intention for even 60-seconds will allow you to re-engaging in what is going on around you can help to reset, focus, feel less anxious, overwhelmed or flustered.

As humans, most of us can get caught up in and swirl in telling ourselves stories about what is happening or going with family, friends, relationships, with work on as we rush throughout our day. Our thoughts spin and our stories grow;

“what if I don’t meet the deadline”

“I am sure they are going to criticized me”

“that look they gave me must mean I did something wrong” 

“I was snappy with my partner or child before I left home so I am sure they are really angry with me”

As humans, we typically tell ourselves stories in the negative, the worst-case scenarios and this impact how we walk through the rest of our day. By noticing the stories we’re telling ourselves, we can question them, we can challenge them, and we can see the real impact they are having on our day-to-day lives. 

Our self-talk can also have a significant impact on how we show up each day, for ourselves and with others.  When you pause for a literal-minute, what are your inner words to yourself? Are you being critical or kind? Are you being harsh or compassionate? Are you being hurtful or empathetic? Acknowledging when we are using our negative inner voice allows us to alter and change the unkind way, we are treating ourselves and focus on a more compassionate, less harsh connection with ourselves, but this cannot happen if we do not slow down and take notice of the internal noise and dialogue.

 

Checking In with Yourself

When was the last time you spent one minute quietly checking in on yourself? Are your shoulders tense? Is your jaw clenched? Are you frowning or smiling? Do you feel a knot in your stomach or does it feel relaxed? When we check in on our physical body this can also help us to understand where emotions and thoughts are sitting, breaking our regular patterns and allowing ourself to check in for a quick 60-seconds can have in enormous benefits.

Taking one minute a day can help you extract feelings of all of the good in your life, create hope, let go of negative thoughts and understand what you are thankful for, what you appreciate. 

In 60-seconds you can boost your joy, optimism and your resilience. 

Ready to take a minute to reset?  Start now.

Good luck and this minute is for you.

Check out my recent podcast Being Intentional for 60-Seconds a Day!

https://www.shellyqualtieri.ca/podcast/

 

 

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