Sometimes it's not possible to take as many vacations or
breaks as you'd like. You know it helps to "get away" and
incorporate some peace and quiet into your life, but it's
often difficult to take as much time as you need. One way
to work and live with less stress is to make deliberate use
of small periods of time to create your own little
"decompression chamber."

Set Aside Time to be Yourself

See where you can find numerous opportunities for small
"hidden" breaks. Even at work or while accomplishing a
specific task, you can often slow yourself down, look up,
take a deep breath, enjoy your sip of coffee or tea, drink
a glass of water, or even just refocus your eyes on
something else in your environment. Allow yourself to think
of something pleasant: a happy memory, an imagined scene, a
tiny daydream, an amusing thought.

Arrive Early

You know what it feels like to arrive at an appointment
rushed and out of breath and not quite ready to deal with
your intended purpose. Unpack your schedule just a little
in order to allow extra time for unexpected obstacles. A
few silent moments to yourself can give you a lift and help
you remember your intention before you begin your mission.
You may spend those minutes on a bench, in your car, in a
public rest room, or at the doorway of your destination.
Arriving early allows you to be your most calm and focused

Take Time to be Grateful

During these small pauses, try making a habit of
remembering the people and large and small things in your
life that deserve your appreciation and gratitude. Think of
what others have done for you, and the blessings in your
life. If you have clean air to breathe, the ability to slow
yourself down for a moment, clean water to drink, and an
occasional view of the sky, you have more than much of the
world's population. Let your heart be filled with
thankfulness, even for the workers who make your clothing,
for the farmers who produce the food you eat, for the far-
away dock workers who unload your tea and coffee from the
ship. All this is for you.

Use Cues to Remind Yourself

Think of actions you take every day: Eating a meal, putting
a key in a lock, walking through a doorway, looking at a
watch or a clock, taking a shower. All these can become
automatic reminders to help you to remember to take a
moment to center yourself, see a "larger picture," and be
calm and grateful for the small, unseen, every-day miracles
that surround you.

Such pauses can make your day brighter, more meaningful,
and less stressful. Use the time for the renewal of your
inner self, and you may find yourself less pressured and
more refreshed than ever before.

Author's Bio: 

Ellen Moore, Ph.D. is a professional counselor and life coach whose passion is helping people who are ready to make positive
changes. She has wide interests in writing, philosophy,
world literature, practical positive psychology, and the
creative arts. She revels in the mysteries of life with
humor, dogs, and amazement.

She publishes a newsletter: New Life Story Seeds, which contains tips for writing your own new life stories and juicy questions to ponder. You can subscribe at: