Why You Need to Hit the Pause Button in Life

"You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha Our MP3 players and televisions have a pause button but what many of us don't realize is we have a pause button too. At any time, in any given situation, we have the choice on whether or not to hit our very own pause button for our lives.

Each day at work I am presented with problems that require careful attention to detail to come up with a solution that takes into account policy, practice, prior determinations, the current set of facts and the future implications.  I learned early on that I couldn't make quick decisions even if I was confident in my ability to resolve the situation.  No matter how bad the person sitting in front of me wants swift resolution, I have to hit pause.  Hitting pause allows me to gather all the relevant information in order to weigh the consequences of the decision.


It has taken me far longer to understand the importance of hitting the pause button in life.  When I hit pause in my personal life it allows me to give deference to my mind, body, and spirit.  Hitting pause is my way of giving myself permission to step off the roller coaster for an indeterminate period of time.  Sometimes I can hit PLAY after three deep breaths and other times I need a week.

Appropriate times to press pause in our lives include when we feel overwhelmed, lack self-confidence, are mentally or physically fatigued, and/or have an overall sensitivity to the stimuli around us.  Hitting pause gives us the ability to step back and assess a situation before making a determination on how to proceed. Hitting our pause button is the first step in self-care and learning how to embrace rest.

By pressing the pause button on life, we give ourselves the space to realign with our values and our vision.  To reconnect with our inner voice of knowing, calm, and gratitude.  When we hit pause, we are able to make decisions from a place of strength and discern what is critical to our goals.

Our nature is becoming one that wants to continually drive forward without thought for our own well being.  However, stepping back often allows us to step forward with greater awareness and purpose.

Not sure how to hit the pause button?

  1. Awareness.  Acknowledge when you are feeling stuck, frenzied, frenetic, rushed, overwhelmed, or needing to make important decisions.  These are all reasons to hit the pause button in life.  If you are feeling illness coming on, hit pause immediately.
  2. Reflect.  This is a great time to take 15 minutes and reflect on what you are feeling and what your next steps are.  WRITE THEM DOWN! This will help you build a consistent process around hitting the pause button going forward.
  3. Embrace your fears.  Often times we are afraid to unburden our schedules.  We fear missing something or being perceived as "flakey" if we have to back out of a commitment.  Find a way to talk yourself through the fear so you can make the best decision for yourself. Ask for help facing your fears.  I have started to refer to it as "sharing my shame."
  4. Do what feels authentic.  While you might feel hitting the pause button is a sign you don't have it all together, realize that none of us have it all together. Accept yourself for who you are and where you are.   Trust your intuition.  You have all the answers you seek as long as you have the courage to listen.  One aspect of authentic living having the confidence to do what you need for your mind, body, and spirit.

How do you press the pause button on life?  Do you feel like you need permission to step back and take a break?

PS. Sign up for our weekly newsletter, The Successletter, for more tips and resources to keep you navigating life successfully.  This week's inside scoop will talk about a recent experience I had with pressing pause.  I answer questions like what made me hit pause, what I did when I hit pause, and my personal reflections.