Perhaps a Pause
Carla Brannan is a personal life coach in Spokane.

Summer is waning. Who thinks it was too short? For many of us, our days are already overloaded. Summer, with all its offerings, simply adds more to our to-do lists. It's easy to forget to take a break, or pause for even one second. But if we do, we can give ourselves a fresh start any time of day. Pausing, even briefly, to focus on our breath can bring us back to our center, reset our focus, release stress from our bodies and clear any negative thoughts in our heads. We are ready to move forward with more energy and a sense of ease. When do you need to pause?

Frequently, we're able to power on through. Yet sometimes, realizing we forgot our lunch on the kitchen counter or receiving a sideways glance from our favorite barista can set our minds off on a noxious tangent of negativity and crabbiness.

My body always tells me when pausing is needed: clenching my jaw, picking my nails or tightening in my throat or shoulders. It's great when I recognize these signs while I'm still in front of the barista with the displeasing look. I can tune in to my breath, inhaling and exhaling effortlessly, and reset my body by firmly planting my feet and dropping my shoulders. A mental gratitude list is helpful, too. Usually, I can then continue with a pleasant conversation and happily come up with a different plan for lunch. Consider creating a pause that fits you, give it a try and notice how it changes your experience. ♦

Dancing with Life: Mexican Masks @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through April 16
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