Take The Intentional Pause

Pressure. Constant pressure. Pressure from within, pressure from without. Pressure, pressure, pressure.

They say pressure makes diamonds. That's true, but incomplete.

The combination of the correct pressure and high heat, in the correct, super-specific environment turns coal into diamonds.

Pressure is awesome when used correctly and horrifying when used incorrectly... or misunderstood.

The right pressure makes your bug spray work, the wrong pressure makes your ear drums burst.

The right pressure can make you better at your work, the wrong pressure can lead to elevated cortisol, lack of sleep, frustration, tension, anger, depression or worse.

One overlooked, or often forgotten, tool is the intentional pause.

Don't like what you just heard? Take an intentional pause before you speak. Ask yourself, "Is what I am about to say going to help the situation or make it worse?

Does your child want to play? Take an intentional pause with them. Put work down if it's time and come back to your work refreshed. If it's not time to quit working yet, tell your child you will play with them at X time... and keep your promise. Be present.

Feeling overworked? Take a few hours (or days, or weeks) and let it go. Go for a walk, go on a date, go hang with your friends, go to the movies, go see a show, go take that trip. Go and be present. The energy will renew you... and, sometimes, your business or team needs to run without you for a little bit.

Feeling stressed out? Take 30 minutes in the morning, afternoon, or evening to center yourself with a journal entry, a book, a walk (perhaps the most vastly underrated tool used today for getting your act back together) or some quiet and a cup of coffee or tea.

If your pauses are intentional when you feel the pressure, you will not feel like you are "wasting" your time. Instead, you may find that it's easier to renew your energy and re-focus on the tasks weighing down on you. And maybe that "weight" won't feel so heavy.

Smart, intention-filled breaks are very healthy things. So is perspective. Build them into your modus operandi. Keep practicing!

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