How long is 10 seconds, really?
If I talk to you while showing clips of my dog Rocky playing, 10 seconds can go by pretty fast. On the other hand, a blank stare can seem like an eternity.
So the real answer is, it depends—but when it comes to intentionality, 10 seconds makes a world of difference.
When things get stressful and uncertain, many of us rush through things and try to do all the things at once. During this time, we’re much more susceptible to the Twitch, those little impulses that ping us back and forth between things all day. It may feel like we’re doing things, but it also seems like nothing is really getting done.
We can combat this bouncy ball situation by slowing down the pace of our thoughts and actions. We can’t keep thinking faster to compensate; we need to give ourselves a little more space to process before taking action.
When you feel the urge to check social media, give yourself 10 seconds before doing so. If you’re trying to focus on something, take 10 seconds before picking up your phone if a notification goes off. Try building a 10-second delay between the impulse and the action, and see how it feels for you. While these are digital examples, this can be applied to anything you think of before the action.
Building this practice will be helpful even if you still do the thing after waiting 10 seconds.
It’s not about changing the behavior immediately or feeling shameful about it—it’s about intentionally choosing the action that follows, even if it might be considered a distraction.
I can imagine you thinking how insignificant 10 seconds might seem. How could it possibly make a difference? If that’s the case, perfect! If it’s easy to do, you’re more likely to do it—which is exactly how a mindfulness habit is built.
What are some ways that you can see yourself using the 10-second pause in your life? You got this!