How You Can Help Lower Your Stress
With the “One-Second Pause” Method

Matthew Dickson
4 min readMay 24, 2021

Too often we are rushed by our environment. Dishes to wash, deadlines to meet, dollars to make. We can find ourselves responding to things rather than being in control of our situation.

Wouldn’t you like to be able to rise above this leash around your neck? What if it took you only one second to do?

Try this. The next time you’re rushing around with too many things to do and too little time, pause for one second. For example, if you’re washing the dishes and feeling crunched for time, before you reach for that glass to put it in the sink, pause for one second. Before you reach for the water faucet handle to turn on the hot water, pause for one second. Like a “freeze-frame” game.

You can slow down for one second or even half a second if you want. Maybe two seconds is what works for you. Or more than that if you need it. Whatever works for you.

By slowing down for just one second while you’re in a rush, you aren’t making yourself behind schedule by much at all. Everyone should have at least one second to spare. You may hear the words “just slow down” when you’re in a rush, and think, “Well, I can’t just sit on the couch while there’s all this work to be done!”

That’s true. But you probably have one second to spare. Or half a second.

What this can do is cause your body to start behaving in a more controlled way. This can help lower your stress by putting you in the driver’s seat. You could be thinking, “I have too much to do. Things need to get done right now. I don’t know how I’m going to do all this!” This is the equivalent of being battered and tossed about by the waves.

Or you could be thinking, “I have time to do everything. I’m having fun right now. What a great day!” This is the equivalent of riding on top of the waves on a surfboard, not being battered by them.

What you may find when you use this “One-Second Pause” Method is that your body goes into a tai-chi-like state. You reach for the glass, you pause, and then you continue to reach for the glass, but this time you’re in charge of the reaching, not being forced to reach in a rushed state.

Then you reach for the faucet, or the plate, or the fork, or the dish soap, pausing every now and then for one second when you realize you are stressed and rushed.

I am amazed by how well and how quickly this works to put me in the driver’s seat. It makes me feel like I am doing tai chi movements, where they are slow, controlled and deliberate.

I am not an expert in tai chi. I say it makes you move in a more tai-chi-like state, but that is just my personal observation of how it makes me feel.

You can also learn more about tai chi and how Danny Dreyer applied it in an interesting way for use while running in his book “ChiRunning” here.

One of the main points of meditation or yoga is to calm you and make you feel more in control of your body.

Try this method yourself and see what you think! Get back in the driver’s seat…get up riding the waves on your surfboard!

This “One-Second Pause” Method is something I discovered myself. I hadn’t read about it anywhere or heard anybody talking about it. I named it the “One-Second Pause” Method. Perhaps I can think of a better name for it later, but for now it’s the best I can come up with and I think it’s not too bad as it is.

I can’t guarantee you’ll have any benefits from this method. I am not a doctor or health specialist in any formal capacity. If you find it works for you, great! If it doesn’t work for you, perhaps you can help lower your stress using some other way.

Stress is something that you should try to lower in your life. Stress can increase your weight, ruin your sleep, destroy your relationships and much more. I can’t ensure you have no stress in your life, but perhaps this “One-Second” Method can be just one of many other tools at your disposal.

Higher levels of stress can be too much for this method to be effective, I’m sure. For lower levels it might work quite well for you.



Matthew Dickson

Advocate for people with mental illness in developing countries at Bicycled across Canada twice, books, nature, fitness, learning, dancing!