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Article: Power in the Pause

Updated: Aug 15, 2021

Do you sometimes find yourself overreacting, defending yourself, or in uncomfortable situations that don’t bring out the best in you? If so, pausing may be just the thing you need to do. Consider integrating some of the recommendations made in the below PAUSE exercise. Also, don’t miss the last section of this post on what creates a mood.

Pause: An intentional decision to stop, to unplug from distractions, and to be in the moment.

“Human freedom involves our capacity to pause between the stimulus and response and, in that pause, to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight. The capacity to create ourselves, based upon this freedom, is inseparable from consciousness or self-awareness.” – Rollo May

Emotional regulation requires self-awareness, so hit the pause button next time you are triggered. This will help you respond with greater intention.

Hit the pause button and check in!

Before reacting consider practicing the pause. The below PAUSE EXERCISE provides some practical suggestions on how you can pause so you can take action with greater intention.

Pause and…

  1. Breathe

  2. Focus on yourself

  3. Be a witness to what you are experiencing

  4. Notice details in the moment by waking up your senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch)

  5. Move from thinking to feeling by connecting to sensations in your body

  6. Notice if something is triggering you

  7. Process what you’re thinking and feeling

  8. Think about the “why” underneath both

  9. Pay attention to your tendencies – do you have a pattern of assuming, deflecting, projecting, defending, shutting down, self-criticizing, minimizing

  10. Don’t judge…. meet yourself with compassion

  11. Practice grace and self-care in the moment

  12. Ground in gratitude

  13. Consider new possibilities

  14. Open up to new ways of viewing things

  15. Get clear and be intentional about your actions

  16. Consider letting go and do nothing until you are ready

Emotional regulation is not easy, but it is possible. Pausing and getting more connected to what you are thinking and feeling in the moment is a great way to start.

Round this list out to 20, by thinking about 4 things that help you regulate when you are triggered.

  1. ___________________________________

  2. ___________________________________

  3. ___________________________________

  4. ___________________________________

“Pause before you react. Pause before assuming. Pause before accusing or defending. Pause to take a breath and seek the truth. Let the pause be the bridge between thought, emotion, and action.” – Terrie Elizabeth Reeves

What creates a mood?

Do you sometimes find yourself in a mood and you are not exactly sure how you got there? Have you ever thought about what creates your mood? Here is the 60 second skinny on the subject. We are all impacted by internal and external stimuli (thoughts, situations, experiences, people etc.) that trigger our emotions. Feelings/emotions over an extended period of time create our mood. So, if you want to change your mood, pause and ponder what is causing you to feel the emotions that you are feeling and ask yourself, do I like the way I feel? If you do, notice why you are experiencing positive emotions and pause to be grateful. If you are not, do the same thing and notice why you are experiencing negative emotions and consider 1. First, meeting yourself with kindness 2. Pausing, breathing, and connecting with the sensations in your body 3. Asking yourself more ”why” questions to better understand what is at the fulcrum (center) of your negative experience 4. Taking intentional action by doing something that will shift your mood. Just noticing your mood…. good, bad or indifferent without judgment is a good place to start. The only way you can appreciate something or change something is if you are aware of it. So, pause more, take yourself off autopilot, and become a witness to how you are feeling and reacting. You may not be able to control the things that happen in life but you do have a choice in how you react to them.

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