If you are like me, you are trying to cram as much productivity into your day and have an endless task list that has been your taskmaster. This way of living allows you to accomplish much, but at what cost? Stress, emptiness, and burnout are all symptoms of an always-on-the-go lifestyle.

When constantly stressed, we live in the primitive, limbic stimulus-response part of our brain. In this primitive state, our “triggers” are exposed and highly sensitized. Our appetites and fears drive our behavior, and as the world condition pushes our buttons, we walk through life out of control a large part of the time. When driving, I go unconscious a lot. A person cuts me off or follows me too closely, and I react as though I am being attacked. Do you relate?

The key to moving from our primitive reactionary part of our brain into our higher rational brain is to pause. When we pause, it’s like clipping off the fuse that will ignite an explosion. Those small spaces we allow in our lives help us to make better decisions, deepen our relationships, and oddly enough, get more accomplished.

When do we know we need a pause? Here are just a few tells:

  • When reacting
  • When relating
  • When stressed
  • When an appetite hits you

Here is a power pause process you can use:

  • Stop, Pause, Breathe and Relax
  • Become fully present
  • Allow the rational brain to engage fully
  • Embrace the truth in that moment
  • Reengage only when you are being your best self.

It will not always be easy to pause when you need to. The moment’s momentum will often drive you beyond where you should be but don’t be discouraged. If you practice the pause often enough, it will become one of your most powerful habits, and you will lead a more mindful, more relaxed, and accomplished life.