Pause

Dr. Marin and Jane Lodato invite you to insert a Pause into your busy day. Each week our surgeons and staff receive a short mindfulness practice designed to help relieve stress, increase focus, reset, and let go.

These mindfulness practices are proven to reduce burnout and stress. When we pause, we become aware of what is driving us at any particular moment, we gain insight into our own reactivity. This awareness provides us with a choice as to how we want to respond to what is happening in and around us, as opposed to walking around on auto pilot. 

While we cannot control all that happens any given day we do have a choice about how we respond to it. With practice we are able to train our brain to come into the present moment in order to gain perspective and ease.

 

When was the last time someone did something nice for you or said something kind to you? Perhaps this person wanted to make your life easier or to make you feel good. How did it feel? Notice what a big difference a small gesture makes. This is a practice that we can all develop, doing one nice thing for another, once a day. Try it, kindness has a boomerang effect.

 

Resilience requires being rooted and grounded. When we are centered, we can stretch, reach, bend and persist. How does grass always manage to push up through the cracks in the sidewalk? This reflection is one you can conjure up again and again.

 

We all get stuck at times. We can beat ourselves up, judge ourselves harshly and get hooked on a story about what is wrong that becomes a repetitive loop in our brain. Notice when you have one of those stories going through your mind, and try this practice. Self compassion is essential to rebounding and building resilience. With practice, you can rewire your brain and help yourself.

 

What one thing is key to your well-being? Can you commit to doing that, to nourishing the thing that fuels you? Take a moment to reflect, asking yourself a few key questions in this guided practice. Your will blossom if you tend to your "garden."

 

Negative thoughts can simply be a habit. There are steps one can take to start to free oneself from the mental patterns we develop. The first and biggest step in this intervention is simply recognizing you are having a negative thought, noticing that it is there. Over time, by noticing and naming them, we see them for what they really are: a habit. You can choose shift your mental playing field with practice.

 

Are you tough on yourself? If you are like the rest of us, self-judgment can become a limiting habit. The grip of feeling we need to be more than we are, in control, or need to be perfect is a burden, after all we are all human. Self compassion is key to resilience. Try kindness: start with yourself.

 

We are living in very challenging times. Focusing on developing comfort and what makes us feel good is a skill that can keep us balanced. Try this practice to insert the positive into your day and your heart.

 

Let frustrations, worries, the "shoulds", thoughts, and situations that are challenging, come and go, like waves in a much bigger ocean. You are not defined by any one of these things unless you choose to be. Practice letting life come and letting it go, ride the waves instead of becoming toppled over by them.

 

Feeling overwhelmed, like things are out of control or just too much? This practice is designed to bring you to a place of feeling steady, deeply rooted and grounded. The branches of a tree can bend and sway with the weather and seasons because their roots go deep, keeping the tree trunk steady. We too can bend with the weather fronts if we are deeply rooted.

 

Neuroscientists describe the brain's "negativity bias": we cannot let go of what we perceive as negative, like self-judgment or perceived criticism, it sticks to the brain like Velcro, we are wired that way. The positive flies right out of our brains, it doesn’t stick, like Teflon. Thus, it behooves us to make a practice of taking in the good, noting what is going well. Make a point of taking in the moments of gratitude, accomplishment and joy. By focusing on the "good" for 20 seconds we can imprint some positivity and begin to shift our mental playing field.

 

What we resist, persists, or so it goes. When we wrestle to control or become frustrated by circumstances or people we cannot necessarily impact, we are the ones who suffer. This practice helps us to acknowledge what is happening and works with trying to allow it, to tolerate it without becoming reactive and increasing our own stress. Saying "yes, and this too, this is part of life" doesn't mean we condone what is going on, it simply helps us to see things for what they are.

 

When we can relax our body we relax the mind. Becoming familiar with where you habitually carry tension and learning to create space there will prevent the tension from compounding. This practice is foundational to well-being and can be done daily.

 

There is a wise being inside of you. When life throws you for a loop accessing this wisdom reminds you of who you are. This practice can help to build resilience and strength during challenging times.

 

Has it been one of those days or weeks? Is your mind churning? This 14 minute practice will help you to find ease, to rest, to come out of a mind that is working overtime and into a place of rest. If you cannot sleep in the middle of the night, it is one to try.

 

Do you feel like one of those mice on the wheel treadmill? Spinning, running? Taking a short break, getting off the treadmill, has been shown to decrease compounding stress and increase the ability to focus. This practice can be done anytime.

 

Is your mind racing? Is your body tense, contracted? What feelings might be in the driver's seat? The practice of checking in with yourself, noting how you are feeling, what mood you are in and what you are thinking, can help you become familiar with the landscape that is you.

 

We can be tenacious when it comes to needing something to be a certain way, believing someone or a situation needs to change, or perhaps feeling we "should" be or do something in particular. The "shoulds" can be a signal that we might be swimming upstream, resisting.

 

This is an introduction to Mindfulness. 10 Deep Breaths is a great basic practice that you can do anytime. It can be helpful when the mind is racing, when feeling anxious or frustrated.

 

We all have times when something gets to us, be it a person, a situation, something we are rehashing, or times we judge ourselves. Try this when you feel frustrated, anxious, angry or judgmental. This practice will help not only to gain perspective but also to loosen the grip of whatever emotion has hold, or even help you to let go.

 

Where are you holding your tension? Our emotions and our day show up in our bodies, We all contract and armor up throughout each day. This 10 minute body scan will systematically let you open up and let go. Try it before going to sleep or any time you need a break. Practice listening to what your body is telling you about when something is impacting you.

 

When our minds are running at full speed we can feel overwhelmed. This practice will help you to take a step back, regroup and reset. When we are not so caught up in our heads we can find respite within and then proceed with a renewed focus.

 

A four minute pause to check in with yourself, come out of your head, into your body, giving yourself encouragement and a reset.