Some days I’m just in non-stop, forward motion from the moment I get up to the time I get to finally collapse in my bed. I know you know how that feels. Life is just one big fast forward for so many of us. We roll from one thing to the next during the course of our busy day. We get lots of stuff done, that’s for certain, but we lose out on something super important…we lose out on our now. For me, that causes some collateral damage. I feel stressed, exhausted and sometimes a bit resentful that I didn’t get any time to myself. On days like that, I’m much more vulnerable to moments of anxiety and it shows up all over the place…headaches, stomach aches, overall uncomfortable feelings. That stuff, in turn, will show up in my food. Eating too fast, mindless eating and feeling those old cravings that just tell me I’m looking for something….something to calm me, something to take me away.
That’s when I know I really need to hit the pause. For me, hitting the pause button is necessary not only for my sanity, for my peace of mind and for my blood pressure, but it really helps me take it down a notch when I feel overwhelmed. My “pause” can be taking a few deep breaths, doing a 5 minute mediation, doing some reflective writing, or just saying helpful phrases to myself. Here are some of my favorite, pausing phrases:
“Let it go.” “ What am I doing right now…that’s all I need to think about.” “Everything will work out…it always does.” These simple thoughts serve a nice purpose. They bring me back to the here and now, which, for me, is a much healthier place to be.
The pause is also important for me when I want to run to the food. I know when I’m vulnerable. I find myself standing in front of the kitchen cupboard, staring inside…looking for that “something”. I’ve used food for avoidance, when there’s something I don’t want to do. I’ve used food for comfort when I’ve been down. I’ve used it to soothe me when I’m upset or to fill me when I’m needy. I’m aware of that stuff now and if I can just get that momentary pause in…the awareness comes forth and I can turn away from the cupboard or the fridge and give myself something else instead.
Shamatha or Samatha, a Buddhist teaching and meditation technique teaches us that stopping and quieting the mind allows us not only to rest the mind, but as a way to gain insight and awareness about ourselves. When we stop, calm ourselves, and bring our attention to what is happening right now in front of us, we can choose a more constructive path. This is an important step in turning around our compulsiveness and creating a change in the right direction.
That pause is one of the most powerful tools I have and when I use it, I’m in much better shape.
So, what does your Pause Button look like? Whatever that may be…just use it. Hit the Pause button and get a little space in between your feelings and your actions. It just may give you more than you realize.