I invite you to take a physical and mental pause right now. Take a big breath in and pay attention to the rise and fall of your body with the inhale and exhale. Did you notice expansion and contraction in your stomach or chest? Perhaps you noticed breath movement in both or neither places, or maybe in another body part(s).
Reflect on your day thus far; what is something you have done that you have truly enjoyed or has made you smile? Taking it a step further, why do you think this action today felt good for you? Perhaps it is connected to a larger picture of something you care about.
For example, going on an afternoon walk and feeling sunshine on my face today made me smile. Walking outside is important to me because I like connecting with nature and seeing the spring blossoms, and I like to physically move my body.
Another small action that had me excited today was buying a food scale for my kitchen. This is important to me because I love to both bake and cook. Recently many recipes I’ve been wanting to try have ingredients in grams, not cups, and hence the food scale purchase. I’m looking forward to my new culinary creations to bring me joy!
Deep breath in and intentionally try to expand your belly out. Take a look down. I’ll wait. 😊
Did it move out and in?
Just like one can slow down and look at their belly, so can we slow down at look at other things in life. By thinking about what we like and why we like it, or what we do and why we do it, we can assess if we want more of the same, or if we need to make adjustments. I call this “doing a self-inventory” and it can encompass physical actions and mental thoughts. This reflection is a way of natural self-correction and being true to you. One can make small adjustments or tweaks that work for their own self, over and over again.
Doing a self-inventory on the values you care about most in life can help with being fulfilled and can help with taking steps that feel loving, autonomous, and are moving confidently in your self-determined direction. It can be small things in life such as assessing if we actually like the brand of coffee we buy, or what we fill our free time with, or even the people we choose to be in our lives. It can be even larger scale things such as making calls to sheriffs to demand justice and fighting for systemic changes.
Take an even deeper breath than you have all day. Exhale out slowly and completely. Let that old air fully out before you start that next breath in.
When you pause, can you pay attention to if your actions have been in alignment with what is truly important to you, your values?
Some common life values in general include: Family Relationships, Citizenship & Social Justice, Intimate Relationships, Social/Community Life, Leisure, Personal Growth, Health, Spirituality, Work, Parenting, and more. What value has been your top priority lately? Has this changed from last month or last year? What actions support these values?
Next month I’m offering a workshop through Beverly Therapists that will dive deeper into these topics, and will offer more intentional PAUSES. Join for an afternoon of stretching, self-reflection, and inviting more calmness into your life.
Deep breath in through your nose. Slowly release the breath out of your mouth. Have a beautiful rest of your day!
Learn more about the author of this post: Carolyn Stypka, LCSW, CYT