Being able to pause while we’re working at our computer is key to everything we’ve been learning here over the past few weeks. Pausing gives us the opportunity for awareness – of our posture, our balance, the space around us, our thoughts, our emotions, our breath, and more.
Pausing, even for split second, gives us the chance to make reasoned choices about how and what we’re doing. We gain the opportunity to stop running on auto-pilot, which means we have the chance to circumvent all those pesky habits that lead to poor posture and everything that engenders.
This type of pause is not just a temporary stop in the action, after which we continue exactly where we left off – like when you click the pause button on a video. It’s a pause that allows awareness of how we are in body and mind. Within that pause we can choose wisely the manner in which we wish to continue – or not continue at all! Of course this principle can be applied to the big decisions of our lives, as much as the ongoing details of the posture and tension habits that affect us as we sit (or stand) at our computer.
This kind of pause is more akin to giving pause, defined, according to Websters, as “to cause to hesitate or reconsider.” I am especially drawn to the idea of giving yourself time to reconsider, i.e. to THINK.
There are three main forms of pausing which are useful to practice:
#1 The Micro-Pause
Micro-pauses take place multiple times throughout the day, and are opportunities for us to take a moment or two to bring our awareness back to ourselves. I find this particularly useful as I work on the computer, giving myself a little time to be aware of my breathing, or of my sit bones on the chair, or of my feet on the floor (you get the idea). The micro-pause also gives me a chance to direct my thoughts in ways that promote freedom of movement and release of excess tension, that lessen anxiety and promote expansion and openness in body and mind.
#2 The Active Pause
This might sound like an oxymoron, but I like to think of it as an internal (mental) pause which happens while doing an activity, and without any external sign that you have paused. It’s a way of creating mental space which opens up the possibility of redirecting our thoughts in a more helpful way, even though you don’t literally stop. For instance, I often work with myself in this way during my daily walks. I don’t stop walking, but mentally I take a pause to bring my awareness to my walking, to myself or to my surroundings. The pause brings me to the present and creates space for more helpful and constructive thoughts. It allows for choices in how I am moving (stiffly or freely) as I walk.
At the computer, this is harder to manage as we are typically reading and writing – i.e. engaging the mind in some specific way already – as part of our work. However, the more we practice outside our time at the computer, as in my walking example, the more this becomes a possibility while at the computer. In general, the more we practice good postural habits on and off the computer, the more available they are whenever we need and want them.
#3 The Long Pause
A deliberate long pause is one that removes us in some way from a specific activity and gives us a chance to refresh and restore ourselves. We’re taking a break! This could literally be a vacation, where we remove ourselves completely from our familiar environment, the pressures of work and our computer. Alternatively it could be a practice like meditation or Constructive Rest, in which we, for a certain amount of time, maybe 10-20 minutes, remove ourselves from the computer and all distractions and give ourselves dedicated time to restore ourselves both mentally and physically. This is especially beneficial in terms of computer posture.
Next week I’ll be sharing some specific ideas for ways to constructively take a break from your computer which will set you up to be in a better state when you return. These will all be examples, in one way or another, of long pauses.
In terms of developing posture that inspires productivity and creativity, that projects confidence to our self and others, that helps us be alert, AND enables us to sit at the computer more comfortably, with less tension and fewer aches and pains, learning to PAUSE is key.
Indeed, the pause is central to the BodyIntelligence approach to everything!
Do you give yourself time to pause? Can you think of times when you didn’t pause and reacted in a way you regret? When has pausing been useful to you? Can you see how it might be helpful as you learn a new approach to your computer posture? As always, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comments in the space below.
Photograh © Spectral / 123RF Stock Photo
Check out all the posts in this series so far: