Learning to pause

If we can pause for just a moment and respond with intention rather than through automatic reaction, our lives would be quite different, don't you think?

Learning to pause takes some practice – the more habituated we become to reacting, the easier and more automatic the reaction is and the greater the need to interrupt this pattern.

The first step in learning to pause is to recognize the trigger/s that cause us to react.

Recognizing the trigger means to tune into bodily sensations that signal stress or upset. These signals are always present moments before we react. They are present in the form of 'knots in the stomach', clenched fists, tight muscles, a headache, fluttering in the heart or stomach, perspiration or some other sensation.

It takes practice to connect these bodily signals to what is happening outside of us and recognize them as a warning sign that we are about to (over) react.

Here is an example:

The phone rings, and it is your mother/mother in law. There is a tiny, almost imperceptible tightening of muscles around your neck.

You pick up the phone.

She says, "You have not called for so long. I guess you are too busy to ask after my health".

This is simply her normal way of starting most conversations.

And your usual way of replying is by being defensive and saying something you will most surely regret later. "But I did call only couple of days ago. You never answer your phone. Did you not see my missed call? Why are you always attacking me?"

Even before you have finished the sentence, you are already regretting this reaction. You know it is only going to lead to conflict.

In learning to pause, you will practice doing something different.

Before you answer her (or preferably even before you pick up the phone), just tune in to what is going on inside.

What is the emotion that you are feeling? Just notice the emotion and acknowledge it.

Then, take a moment to breathe before answering. It IS that simple.

Over the next few days, just take a few moments several times a day to 'tune in' to what is happening inside. Practice simply acknowledging an emotion by labeling it without trying to change or judge it.

Do not let the simplicity of this exercise fool you. It is powerful stuff!

Join our blog!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.