Taking ten to twenty minutes out of the day for a sitting meditation is not for everyone. Short pauses during the day works best for some people. This can also be a part of a mindfulness practice.
To practice this method, you take several short stops, or “pauses,” throughout your day. During this pause, you can be in a mode of open awareness where you are relying on your senses to be mindful of everything around you. Or, you can focus on a specific anchor like the breath. These pauses can be as short as thirty seconds and as long as a couple of minutes. You can slowly increase the duration over time.
There is no right answer to when you should engage with this practice. It depends on the flow of your day. Here are a few examples:
Before starting (or after completing) a difficult task: Taking a pause right before starting something will help you focus and center yourself for the task ahead. Doing so afterward will help you decompress and destress.
Before a meeting or phone call: Taking a brief pause before going into a meeting can help you to clear the mind and collect yourself. That way you can be more present and reactive during the meeting.
Before or after driving: Let’s face it, driving is tough, especially in rush hour traffic. Doing a pause before pulling out into traffic or after you get home can help you manage that stress. It is unsafe though to engage in mindful pauses while driving though.
Before eating: Take a pause before you eat to help you concentrate on and be mindful of the meal.
Before getting ready for the day or laying down for bed: This can help you become focused and set your intentions for the day in the morning and help you set aside the worries of the day at night.
You may find this Brief Reset Meditation useful as part of your mindful pause practice.