One of the greatest disadvantages of a modern lifestyle is that we are constantly on the go. Multitasking is the new fashion statement, and we guilt-trip ourselves every time we take a break. Pause rituals are an antidote to the obsession we have with optimizing our time, resources and energy in a seamless manner. These practices are very personal activities that we need to build in our daily schedule that allow us to take a break and energize us. Just as we choose to charge our phones and laptops, pause rituals do the same for our mind, body and soul.

The idea of calling it a pause ritual emerged from the understanding that while we all appreciate the value of pause, it only assumes importance when we translate it to a palpable, behavioural goal or ritual we can work toward. The word pause means a temporary halt — a break — in our daily life. Here the word is ritual which basically involves creating a set of self-soothing activities in our daily schedule, instead of engaging only when we are heading for a breakdown or meltdown. 

Your exercise class, for instance, or the practice of deep breathing are examples of pause rituals. They are acts that we perform singularly while keeping our gadgets away.

Excerpted from Anxiety: Overcome It and Live without Fear, published May 1, 2020. Harpercollins.


  • Mumbai based Sonali Gupta is one of India’s leading clinical psychologists with 16 years’ experience. She works with young adults, artists, couples, NGO’s, educational institutes and corporates to enhance their emotional well-being. She works at the intersection of grief, relationships, anxiety, compassion and resilience. Her new book “Anxiety: Overcome It and Live without Fear” was released May 2020 on prestigious publisher HarperCollins in both paperback and Kindle.    She writes a fortnightly column for the Mint Lounge titled ‘Heart of the Matter’ which focusses on love, intimacy, understanding emotions and mental health at large  She is the official consulting psychologist for Tinder India since January 2018, and advises several leading businesses and organizations in addition to her own practice.   With over 60,000 subscribers, her YouTube channel “Mental Health with Sonali” is one of, if not the, largest for a mental health professional in India. She is passionate about causing a breakthrough and ending the stigma around mental health in India. She envisions a world where mental health care is easily available, accessible and affordable for all and hopes to work towards policies that allows for this.