Mindset Training Portal - Phase 2

Welcome to your Pause at Work toolbox!

On this webpage, you will find all of the guided recordings, materials, weekly lessons, and mindful tools to help you develop and sustain your mindfulness practice at work.

Short Meditations for Stress Relief

Program Materials + Resources

Week 1

In "Doing Mode" we live on autopilot much of the time: we drive, walk, eat, and even speak without much awareness of what we're doing. Doing starts up automatically whenever there is a mismatch between where we are now and where we want to be. Focusing narrowly on our goals, we rarely stop and notice the wonder of what's happening around us as we move through our lives. We can end up missing much of our lives, forever postponing the time when life will be less hectic and we'll really notice things again. ​

 

Being Mode is intentional rather than automatic. This means we can choose what to do next, rather than run on old, worn-out habits. This allows us to see things as if for the very first time. We "reinhabit" the present moment and become conscious of our lives. Being brings a freshness to our perception. We become fully awake and aware again.

Waking Up to Autopilot: Doing vs. Being

THEME

MENTAL EXERCISE

When you find yourself transitioning between work activities, pause, take a deep breath, and allow your body to relax. Rest your mind in open awareness and allow sensations, thoughts, emotions, and sounds to move through the space of awareness. Sense your sky-like awareness (Big Mind) that recognizes all that's going on and engage your next activity with a more spacious awareness. ​

 

Pause tip! Use sticky notes to leave reminders like "Open Awareness" or "OA" or "Big Mind" wherever you will see them.

Rest in Open Awareness

WORK APPLICATION

MATERIALS

 
 

Week 2

The brain’s built-in negativity bias helped our ancestors survive in harsh, threatening conditions for millions of years. This “programming” of the brain propels us to continually look for, react to, store, and recall bad news. Consequently, we naturally pay a lot more attention to threats and losses than to the things that are going right. This bias unwittingly influences our expectations, feelings, and moods and left unchecked can easily lead to anxiety, irritation, exhaustion and burnout.

 

Our health, wellbeing, and happiness in the 21st century depend on intentional practices to balance out the neural programming we inherited from our ancestors. Taking intentional pauses to come home to presence, to allow ourselves to rest the mind, and soak in positive moments when they arise can over time rewire our brains for greater levels of wellbeing. We’re not ignoring the real world challenges that exist. Rather, we’re soaking in the good so that we’re better able to put challenges and difficulties into perspective and more equipped to effectively meet challenges without being overwhelmed.

Soak in the Good

THEME

MENTAL EXERCISE

Continue to pause throughout your day – resting in open awareness. After resting, look for good facts and turn them into good experiences:

  • Soften and rest your mind with the positive element, letting it fill your mind.

  • Hold it gently and let it affect you.

  • Notice how you feel in your body as you open yourself to the good that is around and within you.

  • Let it soak in for about 30 seconds.

Pause tip! Use sticky notes to leave reminders like "take in the good" wherever you will see them.

Pause to Take in the Good

WORK APPLICATION

MATERIALS

Week 3

When stress levels rise, it’s easy to be consumed by the negativity bias and feel overwhelmed by gloomy news and uncontrollable change. We may feel powerless and lose perspective. While it’s true that we may not often have control over our external circumstances, we do have a strong influence over our mind.

 

Getting through hard times requires strength. Strength comes in many forms – not just sheer force. Strength includes endurance, persistence, restraint and the willingness to sacrifice small wins for a bigger goal.

 

We’re often blind to our own strengths – it’s hard to see ourselves the way others do and many of our strengths are things we find easy and natural, so they may be quickly discounted as insignificant. Taking time to pause and appreciate our strengths can help us refuel, regain perspective, feel stronger in the face of adversity, and make good things happen.

Uncovering Strengths 

THEME

MENTAL EXERCISE

MENTAL EXERCISE

  • When you need a break in your day, pause to tap into the feeling of strength within.

  • Put your arms up like you’ve just crossed a finish line or defeated an opponent

  • Breathe deeply with awareness of your whole body in a power pose. Recognize your inner strength and capacity to endure. Let your body reflect that strength.

  • Power pause anytime you need to tap into your inner reserves of strength

Pause tip! Use sticky notes to leave reminders like "POWER pose" or "Strengths" wherever you will see them.

POWER Pause

WORK APPLICATION

MATERIALS

 
 

Week 4

THEME

Minding Your Info Diet

Our “diet” of information can have a huge impact on our health and wellbeing. Each time we read or watch something that makes us feel challenged or threatened, the body tenses up to fight, flee, or freeze. Over time, this steady drip of tension can overload our mental and physical health – leading to poor digestion, body aches, headaches, anxiety, irritability, and depression.

 

Bringing awareness to when, where, and how often we consume media that activates tension is an important step in protecting our health. We can also restore our wellbeing by practicing the inner skill of consciously relaxing the body and learning to activate the parasympathetic nervous system at will (calming the autonomic stress reaction).

 

One such powerful practice that rebalances the nervous system is abdominal breathing (aka diaphragmatic or “belly” breathing). Breathing deeply through the belly activates receptors that send messages to the brain via the vagus nerve to lower your heart rate and shift your body out of "fight or flight" and into "rest and digest" mode. 

MENTAL EXERCISE

Each time you notice the impulse or urge to check the news or other potentially draining social media source, pause and take three deep belly-breaths:

  • PAUSE for one second and let yourself become still.

  • Relax your body and soften obvious areas of tension (eyes, jaw, shoulders, arms, hands, abdomen, legs).

  • Take 3 gentle deep breaths through your abdomen, fully aware of each inhale (the sense of expansion) and exhale (the return to center), bringing yourself back when your mind wanders.

  • Consider whether or not you really need to read the news and then make a conscious choice that’s right for you and your health.

Pause tip! Use sticky notes to leave reminders like "Pause" or "Breathe" wherever you will see them.

Pause for 3 Deep Breaths

WORK APPLICATION

MATERIALS

Week 5

THEME

Cultivating Patience

It’s natural to want things to be a certain way. And yet, often life unfolds in ways that are inconvenient, unwanted, and out of our control. When we react with resistance to the way things are and cling to “what’s wrong” we actively manifest impatience and dissatisfaction.

 

While we can’t always control our external circumstances we do have the power to control how we respond to life’s challenges. Patience is an inherent part of the mind. It’s with us all the time. When impatience arises, it may seem like we have to try harder to manifest patience – but it doesn’t work that way. Rather than trying to create more patience, with mindfulness we learn to let go of our autopilot reactions that cause us to feel annoyed and dissatisfied in the first place.

 

In this way, we can influence how much a stressor impacts our psychological and emotional wellbeing as we deepen our capacity to let go and let be.

MENTAL EXERCISE

Each time you notice feelings of impatience or restlessness:

  1. PAUSE to acknowledge the mind-state of impatience

  2. Bring a kind, curious attention to any thoughts that may be driving frustration

  3. Bring a kind, curious attention to any emotions in the body – allowing what you find

  4. Take 3 gentle deep breaths through your abdomen, making space around the feelings of intensity in mind and body

  5. Congratulate yourself for pausing with discomfort (it’s not easy and worthy of celebrating!)

Pause tip! Use sticky notes to leave reminders like "Patience" or "Let Be" wherever you will see them.

Pause With Impatience

WORK APPLICATION

MATERIALS

 
 

Week 6

THEME

Strength of Humility

Humility sometimes gets a bad rap – it can be interpreted as passive, "less than", or even being a doormat. But true humility is a tremendous strength. Founded upon a gentle, unpretentious confidence, humility embodies wisdom – it recognizes that we’re all dependent on a vast web of life including people (near and far), the natural world (sun, water, air, earth), technology, etc. – every single day.

 

Humility opens us up to a more relaxed connection with others and can yield an inner peace that isn’t available to us when we’re chasing self-gratification. While we’re all humbled by external forces in the times of coronavirus, mindfully take this opportunity to explore how to embrace humility and turn it into a strength.

MENTAL EXERCISE

At the end of your work day, or before bed, take a mindful moment to review your day and identify the one accomplishment you are most proud of. Soak in gratitude for your ability to get it done and express appreciation for anyone that helped you along the way. 

Pause tip! Set a reminder on your phone to pause at the end of the day to appreciate your accomplishments.

Gratitude for Accomplishment

WORK APPLICATION

MATERIALS

Week 7

THEME

Inner Refuge

Let’s get real – life is hard and we all need a refuge from challenges, heartaches, and the chaos of daily life. Without a refuge it’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed by daily stressors. Refuge can be found in people, places, memories, and ideas – anything or anyone that provides a reliable sense of respite and sanctuary.

 

Meditation is one such inner refuge that you can develop to help you access strength and wisdom. The inner refuge of mindfulness isn’t so much a hiding place, or an escape, but rather a place where one can experience the still­ness of the body and the spaciousness of the mind, even in the midst of tumultuous times.

 

The capacity to access inner refuge is a skill that is cultivated with dedicated time and effort. By practicing taking refuge, we can learn to find comfort, support, and reassurance as we navigate the inevitable challenges that arise.

MENTAL EXERCISE

  • Pause to recall a visual image of a time when you felt really happy and content.

  • Bring the memory to life as best as you can in your mind and body (see if you can remember what all the senses were taking in at the time).

  • Recreate the feeling and let it sink in – savor the moment for at least 30 seconds.

 

Pause tip! Set a reminder or use a sticky (or both) – but switch it up this week. Novelty is brain food, so try a new approach to reminding yourself to pause.

Pause To Take Refuge

WORK APPLICATION

MATERIALS

Clearing.jpg
 
 

Week 8

THEME

Finding S P A C E

For many people, the pandemic and social distancing has revealed how space impacts our state of wellbeing. While observing social distancing and stay-at-home orders, we may feel confined and experience tension or tightness in our bodies. And when we find time to go outside in a more open space, we may feel more relaxed and peaceful.

 

The same is true as it relates to the space of our minds. When it’s filled with racing thoughts, worries, concerns, problems, and ideas, we may also feel tense and tight in our bodies.

 

The good news is – we don’t actually have to retreat to nature to find a sense of spaciousness and ease. Meditation provides a method for tapping into a sense of spaciousness wherever you are. The next time you feel anxious and overwhelmed by your external environment or your own thoughts, see if you can connect to your breath and breathe a sense of spaciousness into your body. You might explore relaxing tension on the exhale and softening into the inherently spacious qualities of the mind. Remember, you have these tools within you, no matter where you are or who you’re with.

MENTAL EXERCISE

Pause to let go of what’s occupying your mind (past memories, future plans or worries) and tap into the fundamental okay-ness that is within you. While the mind has the tendency to catastrophize and spin itself into knots, we always have the capacity to pause and tune into the breath.

  • Let yourself relax and open up to the moment you're in.

  • Feel the support of the ground beneath you or notice any sounds passing. 

  • Acknowledge that in this moment – right here – you are fundamentally okay.

  • Let this sink in for about 30 seconds.

  • Then, go back to what you were doing.

Notice You're Okay Right Now

WORK APPLICATION

MATERIALS

Week 9

THEME

Do What You Can, Accept Your Limits

Moving into the 7th week of social distancing, the pandemic has many feeling drained and stressed out. Being pushed around by external forces and powerless to change the circumstances for so long can easily lead to the development of “learned helplessness” – vulnerable to pessimism, passivity, anxiety, and depression.

 

While we’re still observing social distancing and stay-at-home orders, it’s important to continue the search for balance – identifying what we do in fact have influence over, and doing what we can to take care of ourselves and one another. It is equally important to acknowledge and accept the limits of our influence.

 

Mindfulness is key for seeing our lives with clarity and gaining an understanding of our field of influence. Meditation helps us learn how to accept the facts we cannot change. When we can accept the facts of life, and stop railing against things as they are, we usually find more resources for dealing with life’s difficulties. Each time we let go of distraction, refocus, and begin again, we are building the foundations of resilience.

MENTAL EXERCISE

When stress is on the rise, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of harsh self-talk, criticizing ourselves and others for mistakes or inconveniences. When you notice you’re feeling off:

  • Pause, and drop awareness into your body.

  • Cool your jets with a few deep belly-breaths.

  • Then from a place of grounding, offer yourself some calming self-talk.

  • You might remind yourself that “This too will pass” and could encourage yourself to keep going with, “You got this.” Soothing talk will keep your mind from revving up and help interrupt any negative chatter that’s fueling stress.

 

Pause tip! Set a reminder on your phone or post a sticky note that says "You got this" to keep this intention alive throughout your day.

Pause for Positive Self-Talk

WORK APPLICATION

MATERIALS

Self-Talk.jpg
 
 

Week 10

We don’t have to go get lost in a forest or visit an art gallery to find beauty – beauty can be found all around us. Yet, when we’re speeding around on autopilot and consumed by stress reactivity, we’re far less likely to notice and actually experience it. Stopping to smell the roses can be a huge stress reliever in our fast-paced world. When we consciously pause to savor beauty, it slows down our sense of time, brings us into the present moment, helps us tap into a larger perspective, and nourishes hope.

 

Mindfulness meditation makes us prone to catching moments of beauty because we’re gradually shifting our default to being more present. We're less frequently lost in our thoughts, ruminating on problems, and more open to life as it’s unfolding in front of us. As the world grows more chaotic, it takes courage and discipline to slow down and tune in. But perhaps there is nothing more important to our collective health and wellbeing than pausing to appreciate beauty, which in turn cultivates inner peace.

Savoring Beauty

THEME

MENTAL EXERCISE

Pause throughout your day to consciously open up to beauty.

  • Intentionally stop what you’re doing, close your eyes while you drop awareness into your body for a few refreshing breaths.

  • Then open your eyes and really look at the things around you. Notice the things you tend to tune out. See the ordinary things in your environment (e.g. the play of light and shadow, various colors, objects and the space around them) with eyes of appreciation.

  • After exploring the visual field of experience, open up to your other senses: smells, tastes, sounds, etc.

  • Notice and appreciate any feelings or memories that arise in the space of the pause.

  • Let beauty in and savor the experience for at least 30 seconds and then move back into the flow of your day with a refreshed sense of presence.

 

Pause tip! Set a reminder on your phone or post a sticky note that says "Beauty" to keep this intention alive throughout your day.

Pause To Find Beauty

WORK APPLICATION

MATERIALS

Week 11

THEME

Take More Breaks

 Our nervous systems simply weren't built for the stressors of the 21st century. For many people, chronic stress has become a way of life. Feelings of always being behind are often accompanied with anxiety, depression, and insomnia – all of which have largely been normalized. Everyone feels stressed, so it’s not viewed as a problem.

 

Let’s keep things in perspective – stress can also be a good thing. It helps prepare us for high performance and keeps us alive in dangerous situations. But when our nervous system gets stuck in the “on position,” this can easily lead to long-term deleterious effects – limiting our health, happiness, and life potential.

 

It’s imperative that we TAKE MORE BREAKS. It only takes a brief moment (a deep breath) or perhaps a few minutes, when appropriate,  to decompress and give ourselves the rest we need. The biggest challenge is remembering and then being willing to pull off the fast lane of incessant activities (which can be addicting). So this week – promise yourself you’ll take more breaks. Your brain and body will thank you.

MENTAL EXERCISE

Stop.  Whatever you’re doing, just pause momentarily.

 

Take a Breath. Reconnect with your breath. Anchor to the present moment.

 

Observe. Notice what’s happening. What do you sense inside (sensations, emotions, thoughts)?

 

Proceed. Continue what you were doing with greater presence.

 

Pause tip! Set a reminder on your phone or post a sticky note that says "STOP" to keep this intention alive throughout your day.

"STOP" Practice

WORK APPLICATION

MATERIALS

STOP Handout.jpg
Take More Breaks.jpg
 

Week 12

THEME

Keep Going

Over the past several months, we've explored various practices and strategies for cultivating mindfulness, balance, and resilience. Perhaps the most important factor of all that leads to greater success, wellbeing and happiness is PERSISTENCE.

 

No matter how hard we try, we simply cannot control our external circumstances in life. What we do have control of is our response to what happens to us. Rather than getting stuck in the muck of “shoulds” and wishing things were different, mindfulness teaches us to accept the things we cannot change, let go, begin again and keep going.

 

When we’re really truly stuck in a situation, we have our practice to lean on: to pause and meet ourselves where we’re at with kindness and compassion. We can get in touch with our inner strengths and reflect on what’s good despite the gravitational pull of the mind towards the negative.

 

Your practice is a gift to yourself and to everyone else you come in contact with. Keep making it a priority and keep going. Meditation, and life for that matter, is a journey. Enjoy the ride.

MENTAL EXERCISE

  • At the end of your day, pause to ask yourself, “what kind deeds or gestures did I receive?”

  • Scan your day to identify any acts of kindness or perhaps simple interactions that you benefited from that you may have taken for granted.

  • Create some space to fill your cup of gratitude and foster an inner sense of warmth and appreciation for this life and all of the small moments of kindness.

 

Pause tip! Set a reminder on your phone or post a sticky note that says "Kindness Reflection" to keep this intention alive throughout your day.

Kindness Reflection

WORK APPLICATION

MATERIALS

Keep Your Practice Alive.jpg
 
Mindful Tools for the Modern Workplace

© 2015-2020 by Pause Meditation, LLC