Taking short “pauses” throughout the day to focus on being mindful is the best way for most people to learn to incorporate the habit of mindfulness into their everyday lives. This form of mindfulness practice is called mindfulness meditation and is one of many ways to practice being mindful.
To practice this method, you take several short stops, or “pauses,” throughout your day, during which time you practice being mindful of everything around you. These pauses can be as short as thirty seconds and as long as a couple of minutes. The length should slowly increase as you get more accustomed to being mindful.
The question that immediately comes to mind regarding these pauses is -what is the best time of day to do them? There’s no one right answer to this question, as it’s largely dependent on your personal preferences and schedule, but there are times that are better (or worse) than others. Here’s a few examples of each that you can try or should avoid.
Before starting (or after completing) a difficult task: Taking a pause right before starting something will help you focus and center yourself for the task ahead. Doing so afterward will help you decompress and destress.
Before or after driving: Let’s face it, driving is tough, especially in rush hour traffic. Doing a pause before pulling out into traffic or after you get home can help you manage that stress.
Before eating: Take a pause before you eat to help you concentrate on and be mindful of the meal.
Before getting ready for the day or laying down for bed: This can help you become focused and set your intentions for the day in the morning and help you set aside the worries of the day at night.
Don’t pause while driving: This should be obvious, but don’t do it when you’re stopped at a light or in traffic. It increases the odds of an accident.
Don’t pause while lying in bed: either in the morning or at night. Why? Because your body is in sleep mode at these times and you’re likely to become mindful of the need to sleep and do just that.
Don’t pause when it could cause trouble: Only you know what you’re workday and personal life are like but taking a pause at the wrong time could get you in trouble with your boss or spouse. Be judicious in your timing.