This week on The Living Experiment, we’re celebrating the power of the Pause — the importance of taking regular breaks, and the rewards of getting into agreement with your body’s natural energy-production and repair cycles.
We reveal the biological necessity and scientific importance of ultradian rhythms — the regular fluctuations between output and recovery that allow our bodies to maintain optimal energy, focus and vitality. And we offer practical guidance on recognizing your body’s “need a break” signals, and building more brief, health-supporting pauses into your day.
Whether you want to improve your energy, metabolism, hormonal balance and mood, minimize stress and inflammatory conditions, or just want to get more good stuff done during the course of the day, ultradian rhythm breaks are your best friend. Here’s how to make the most of them.
“Pause” Episode Highlights
- Why trying to be consistently productive all day long doesn’t work (3:00)
- Circadian and ultradian rhythms in the body, and why they matter (6:30)
- Why managing time is less effective than managing energy (11:00)
- “You need to have a valley to have the next peak” — the rules of the ultradian healing response (12:00)
- The scientific research behind ultradian rhythms (13:00)
- How to know when you need a break, and the wide range of break options (15:00)
- How our go-go-go corporate culture undermines productivity and creativity (22:05)
- The relationship between ultradian rhythms and key health factors (26:00)
- How taking regular breaks can reduce emotional reactivity and improve willpower (27:30)
- Simple ways to pause during the day (30:20)
- Key takeaways (42:10)
- Experiments for the week (44:00)
Drink a glass of water each time you take a break.
- Set an alarm if you need initial reminders to break; effects of good hydration will encourage subsequent breaks.
Book two 15-minute interval breaks during the day to check in on your body.
- Aim for one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon break every day for a week. Start by just noticing how your body feels at those moments; bonus points for then taking the break your body wants.
Share the Love!
Each week, we offer you a few life-shifting experiments to try on your own. We’d love to hear how they turn out, and what insights they provoke! Connect with The Living Experiment on Facebook and share your stories with us there.
- Read Pilar’s article “Use the Science of Ultradian Rhythms To Boost Productivity, Energy, and Willpower” over at the Blue Zones site to see some charts that explain how your energy rises and falls throughout the day
- Read Pilar’s blog post, “Well, THAT’s Different,” about how she started taking ultradian breaks, and why
- Check out this “Give Yourself a Break” article from Experience Life
- Read The 20 Minute Break by Ernest Rossi for a deep dive into ultradian rhythms and the science behind them
- Read Pilar’s book, The Healthy Deviant: A Rule Breaker’s Guide to Being Healthy in an Unhealthy World for guidance on how to take breaks in a world that mightily discourages you from doing so
- Visit The Energy Project Ideas for more information on managing energy to improve productivity
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