Dr. Chad Sato
Hawai‘i Herald Columnist
Year 2022 has finally ended and now it’s hello 2023! We move into the new zodiac Year of the Rabbit; which symbolizes longevity, peace and prosperity in Chinese culture. The Chinese New Year actually begins on Sunday, Jan. 22 and has been predicted to be one of hope. With the threat of COVID-19, the action to ensure a prosperous year is the power to pause. With the busyness of the holiday season, buying and wrapping presents, obligated get-togethers, making sure to pause is essential to starting this new year on the right foot.
Over ten years ago, when I first started to do public speaking gigs and trainings to various organizations, I quickly learned the importance and power to pause. As much as I enjoy sharing and getting every last word of my talk in, I soon became acutely aware that using a “pause” was quintessential in audience engagement and receptivity. It gave me a chance to look around and check to see if I saw “deer in headlight” looks or nods of understanding. The pause also helped me to keep my nerves in check since speaking publicly is considered the third of our highest fears behind fear of loneliness (number one) and fear of death (number two). So, this article to start the New Year 2023 is to honor the importance of pausing.
The power of pausing, if applied at the right times, will help you to navigate your life more effortlessly and create a behavior that encourages you to stay present more often. Hence, I will be discussing ways to incorporate pausing in your day-to-day life in order to create more ease and peace in a quickly changing world. New threats to our health and well-being appear consistently since the emergence of COVID-19 and the constant pressure to stay connected and be in the know creates a certain level of anxiety and uncertainty. I will share some strategies to use the pause to help you bolster your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual state of being for you to thrive in a world rife with contradictions and supposed experts who change their position every few months or so.
Especially after the gluttony of the holidays – the onolicious treats and local kine grinds gives us an added motivation to start working out and clean up our diet to get back into shape ASAP. However, how many of you have fallen into this trap many times before and created a New Year’s resolution to eat better and workout after the New Year’s celebrations? I am not saying to not workout, but instead listen to your body as you get back into a workout regimen. Remember, if you want to win the war, each successive battle you win is important to win the war and get back into physical shape. Motivation only lasts so long and until you have bigger “whys” to improve your physical health, you will soon find yourself self-sabotaging and get extremely frustrated. So, this is where you can use the power of pausing at least three times a day to check in and tune into what your body needs at those moments. If you have a lot of work stress and deadlines to meet, until you can link working out consistently to help to mitigate stress and be more effective, you won’t work out. For some peace of mind, according to a study by the Sleep Foundation, adults burn around 50 calories an hour during sleep at night. However, the true amount you burn depends on your unique basal metabolic rate, food you eat and your exercise regimen. Not enough or restless sleep has been linked to obesity and poor health. Take physical breaks throughout the day to slow down, re-energize and to gain more clarity.
One of the most powerful lessons I learned from my mother, growing up, was to pause when you are angry. I was a stubborn and willful child, and one time, I came to my mother when I was up in arms about something that just happened. My mother asked me to take seven deep breaths and of course I didn’t want to take any breaths but voiced my concern. However, she was adamant that I take the seven deep breaths and then she would listen to me. I made certain that she pinky promised me and so I began to take the deep breaths. After the second breath, of course, I wanted to tell her, but she still made me take five more. The most bizarre thing happened – by the fourth breath I felt calmer and then by the sixth breath I was not really thinking about anything and by the last breath I had totally forgotten what I was so upset about. I share this story so that if you ever find yourself emotionally distraught, angry or anxious – take seven deep breaths and see what happens to your emotional state. The most amazing thing about breathing and connecting with your body is that you quickly become present in the moment and whatever is emotionally troubling magically dissipates and often will just disappear.
Mental wellness break
Stabilize your nervous system with focused breathing, meditation and body movement, which helps your noisy mind to settle down. The power of pausing mentally gives you time to clear your mind and slow down the mind so you can focus on the task at hand instead of feeling the need to be two or three steps ahead. This strategy of consciously choosing to take some time between tasks will reap huge rewards in your ability to accomplish more tasks and elevate your efficiency. Another pause you can incorporate is in responding to a text or conversing with a family member, friend or co-worker. The power of pausing gives you time to check in and identify what feels right and what doesn’t. By pausing in dealing with co-workers or friends, you also give them the opportunity to contribute to solving a problem or issue at hand as well. Self-awareness and being mindful is key in helping your mental wellness; establishing clearer communication and objectives that need to be met. Instead of taking seven deep breaths, which serves as a reset, take three to four breaths between projects to give yourself time and space for new ideas to be conceived.
One critical element of self-care is learning to pause, which helps to reduce tension. By gifting yourself more space and time to not rush, helps you to tune in, wonder and step back to see the bigger picture. That way, coming from a centered and collected space enables you to be more present in the ups and downs of life and, at the same time, be happier and more relaxed.
When you move too fast and don’t take time to pause, your habitual habits and reactions overtake your ability to be more present and choose an appropriate response. Learning to cultivate inner silence is essential in staying balanced and staying aligned to your highest values. Pause to be still and quiet, which will allow your nervous system a chance to regain balance.
In the words of piano virtuoso Artur Schnabel, “I handle notes no better than many others. But the pauses; that’s where the art resides.” Quoting Tony Schwartz, best-selling author and CEO of The Energy Project, “human beings perform best and are most productive when they alternate between periods of intense focus and intermittent renewal.” As we move into the new year of 2023, you have the power to pause and keep balanced in a constantly changing and uncertain world. Prioritize your well-being and health in order to thrive in your life instead of just surviving.
Dr. Chad Sato graduated from UCLA in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and earned the Doctor of Chiropractic degree with honors from Life Chiropractic College West in 1998. Sato founded his practice, Aloha Chiropractic (drchadsato.com), in Mänoa valley, O‘ahu, on Oct. 1, 1999. He is a sought-after educator, speaker, author and mind-body specialist who helps people reach new levels of empowerment when it comes to their health and wellness by staying present with their body signs, making appropriate life choices and utilizing stress instead of managing it.